IV. SAPPA Charitable Contribution Request

Greetings Local 47 Colleagues!,

Once again, thank you to all the LOCAL 47 rank and file for coming down and protecting our voice!
The RMA Administration brought out their “A” level game and we, the rank and file, prevailed!

The RMA, has admitted that they lost on Monday, putting out the confirmed results themselves on
Thursday. The results were also on the Local 47 website as of Tuesday morning.


There is a needed thank you that we were remiss in making in the first email after the meeting. With the voting so very close it is certainly possible that the votes that put us over the top came from RMA members who dared to go against “RMA expectations” and vote their conscience.

All the rank and file members are in your debt.


1) CONTRACTION VS EXPANSION or “Actions Speak Louder Than Words.”


It was glaringly apparent that for all the talk about Democracy by President Espinosa and the RMA
leadership at the meeting Monday, every single action the RMA Leadership proposed, except the
naming of the auditorium for Serena Williams and her husband, was designed to stifle and exclude
the voice of the membership.

-Their Resolution I which would have almost guaranteed no meetings FAILED. Bravi membership!

-Their Resolution II would have shut out the voice of the membership if there were no quorum
at a meeting. A further contraction of the members voice. It ALSO FAILED. Bravi again membership!

-Their Resolution III was written solely because David Schubach had the temerity to get the most votes
of any of the AFM Convention Delegate candidates. It has changed the working of the Delegate slate,
but the Delegate portion of the election ballot still needs fixing to be equitable. We’ll see to that before
the next election.

-Also, their motion later in the night, once the RMA controlled the room, that forced the entire delegate
slate going to the convention to vote as a block, was solely because David Schubach, who is
independence minded, won one of the delegate spots fair and square.

Their actions belie their words.


On the other hand, every single action of the COMMITTEE and the concerned Rank and File has been to
EXPAND the member’s role, the member’s voice, and to encourage and sometimes force transparency
at our Local. The RMA leadership spent a great deal of time making wildly absurd claims of what the
50 member quorum could do, including forcing the selling of the building or a changing in the color of
a paint job!


The COMMITTEE has a track record of how the membership has used a 50-person quorum. We are
proud that that power has been used to EXPAND the voice of the membership and to make the Local
more inclusive. It has not been used to take advantage or hurt the membership, or to take control
of the Local for the benefit of a small elite click. In fact, the resolutions forwarded by the RMA
leadership were to undo those actions voted in by the “50 Person Quorum mentality” that expanded
the voice and rights of the members to begin with.

-We also have the REALITY of what a quorum of just 100 would create, NO MEETINGS! The RMA
Administration wanted it even higher than that!

So whose actions benefit only the Board and a small elite click, and whose actions have been
beneficial to the vast majority?? The choice is obvious.


We saw a representation of what many feel is the true power at the Local. Within moments
of the meeting starting. International RMA President Phil Ayling called for “Suspension of the
Rules”, which means from that moment on he controlled the agenda. Normally such a call
requires the person to set the agenda for the meeting all at once, up front, but the board
said nothing, nor did the parliamentarian, nor did the counsel, so Phil basically ran the
meeting for the entire night.

-It was a real time example of the pandering our administration does for the RMA inside
and outside meetings. We were just able to see it in public for a change. After each issue
of the meeting was finished, we had the President of our Local turning to Phil and saying,
“What do you want to do next, Phil?” We can all imagine the same thing happening in the
President’s office or perhaps the board room.


If we lose sight of the threat of those who want to take over our Local for the benefit of only
a small special interest group, they will regain control. The meeting is only one night every
three months! Surely you can plan far enough ahead to make the time to attend.

We will have many things to accomplish in making our Local more equitable in its treatment
of members and the services for us all. We will need your partnership to do it and, on occasion,
will need your participation, sometimes on short notice, to come to the defense of our voice.

The RMA administration is clever, determined, well-organized and VERY WELL FUNDED! Luckily
we have the truth, true democracy and the COMMON good on our side!


The next General Membership Meeting is on July 23rd and will be well worth the trip! We can
certainly promise you that!


There were 263 RMA/ESPINOSA supporters at the meeting ready, able and more than willing
to shut out the voice of the vast majority of the membership for their own gain, profit and
interests. This is not what a union is about. This is not what Democracy is supposed to be about.

If the RMA is so concerned about democracy they should start with their own organization and
allow ALL RMA MEMBERS to vote on contracts, not just those making an “Acceptable amount to
earn that right”. Democracy begins at home but we somehow think that true democracy is only
their concern as long as things go their way.


Here is a notice we received from the AFM. Thank you to the current AFM administration for getting
this done!

Dear Friends:
Passing on good news about Delta Air’s policy re: instruments as carry-ons.
As a result of the American Federation of Musicians’ boycott and the leadership of President Tom Lee,
Delta Airlines recently has decided to allow small musical instruments and guitars on board all flights.
Therefore, AFM has lifted its boycott on Delta. In addition to its carry-on policy, Delta also improved
its checked baggage policy. Checked items can now measure up to 120 linear inches and weigh up to
100 pounds. AFM is currently urging all other airlines to adopt Delta’s policies. We applaud Delta for
its decision to accommodate musicians traveling with instruments. Thank you all very much for your
support of the boycott.


Hal Ponder
Director of Government Relations
American Federation of Musicians

IV. SAPPA Charitable Contribution Request

From Local 47 member Billy Mitchell

Dear Friends,
We are well into the New Year and once again I am asking for your support for the

Scholarship Audition Performance Preparatory Academy
Please take a moment and visit our site:
We hope that our video program will give you a clear picture of our mission. We know that you get
many requests for charitable contributions but we hope that you will add your name to our growing
list of supporters. Every dollar goes a long way in helping SAPPA expand its program into under-
served communities.

Mail to: Billy Mitchell/SAPPA
PO Box 284
S. Pasadena, CA 91031
Payable: Pasadena Arts Council FBO SAPPA

SAPPA is an activity of the
Pasadena Arts Council
65 South Grand Ave. Pasadena 91105
626-793-8171 Fax: 793-5521
a nonprofit charity exempt from federal income tax under 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.


We’ve had so many great comments about the meeting that we will spread them out over two or
three mailings, improving their chances of being read!

Enjoy!,.. and write whenever you like!


Dear Committee:

I attended last Monday’s membership meeting and I was excited by the turnout. When I arrived
at 5:15 PM, the parking lot was practically full. Unfortunately I ate at Astro Burgers before I
showed up, and I was too full to enjoy the Cajun dinner that was served by the Committee.

There was electricity in the air, and you can see that there was going to be a battle between the
RMA and the Committee. I have to admit the RMA had some great spin doctors, and the bourgeoisie
or the “six-figure July Check people” came out in droves. I was surprised that they would even show
up at all. What started to scare me was that when they (RMA) wanted to “compromise” and lower to
a 125 member quorum, they had the votes. There was a music copyist that was sitting next
to me and he was for all the resolutions to be changed. When I tried to explain to him that when he
pays his work dues, he doesn’t have a voice and a tyrannical thought process coming from Hal
Espinosa’s crew would stifle his voice. I guess my persuasiveness prevailed because he voted no
on all three resolutions.

I would like to thank the Committee for keeping our voices heard. The proletariat let the bourgeoisie
know that we won’t be pushed around. I want to raise a glass to the Committee For A More Responsible
Local 47; may their voices of conscience and integrity continue to be heard.

Thanks to all of you,

(EDITOR’S NOTE – We would be remiss if we didn’t point out the huge contribution of the FMA and other
non-committee members in getting the members there, getting them fed, and helping guarantee the
member’s knowledge of the stakes of those votes. We all did our parts, as any good team does.)


I was a bit disappointed that more non-RMA members
didn’t attend this very important meeting. While we
were able to defeat 2 of the “wack” amendments, if it
wasn’t for the required 2/3 majority we’d lost our
voice in Local 47. It appears apathy still affects
many Members.

Knowing that RMALA has blocked suggestions/amendments
that would help the majority of Members, I was still
shocked by the “reasoning” of those wishing to raise
the quorum to 170 (excuse me, 125) members. The use of
traffic in NYC to excuse their reasoning was insulting
at best.

I’m from the NYC area, and I know most of 802’s
members use mass transit (as most NYC residents)
because it’s the best way to get around town. The
statement “most of them (802 members) live in NJ” was
disingenuous and patently false. Even if this were
true, 802’s geographic jurisdiction is nowhere near as
large as 47’s.

The statements about democracy being jeopardized by
having a 50 Member quorum reminded me of the same
lies/falsehoods/misrepresentations endemic in the Bush
administration. I was really disgusted that the RMALA
would stoop THAT low. Not surprised, just really
really disgusted.

In speaking with someone from AFM/West it was
mentioned that RMALA’s attempts to shut down
non-members isn’t a new occurrence. Some of these
musicians are making well over $100K/year, and the
only logical reason for them to shut down the rest of
us is greed. It’s apparent that ideas of Union
Brother/Sisterhood is outmoded, if it truly existed at
all. It’s also painfully apparent they want ALL the
money, period. This attitude will (and is) coming back
to bite them, and by association us, in the backside.

The only thing I can say with certainty is had those
horrendous measures passed I would have resigned my
membership the next day. Local 47 isn’t addressing any
of the issues I face as a professional musician, and
because of the apparent stranglehold RMALA has on 47’s
leadership I don’t see where this will change anytime

A Member wrote to you saying the best thing may be for
us to disband this Union and start all over again.
Unless someone has a way to force the Administration
to do right by the majority of members (it doesn’t
mean this would hurt RMA members’ incomes), that may
be the best thing to do.

It’s absolutely criminal that it may have to come to


Rather than engage the companies that produce library music many years ago, the AFM has
shunned them only to see this work done out of town or dark. How about getting a platform
that has more pension like 15% (since when is pension not a form of back end?) and getting
these producers back – it may and is probably already too late though. Why can’t we
have a FORWARD thinking, ahead of the times AFM, instead of a DAMAGE control AFM. Look
what’s happening with Fi Core and the company New Era and players considering this
alternative. The AFM needs to get front end pension and health and work dues form these jobs.


Hey Music Colleagues:

Happy that members showed up and that outcome was in our (rank and file’s) favor in
some areas. Sorry I couldn’t be there; was out of town. Keep up the good work.
Will see ya on the next one.


Dear Committee,

Thank you for taking the battle to the RMA and defeating them. Thank you for holding
firm against the onslaught.

I not only don’t mind receiving this message twice, I savor the opportunity to read about
the victory a second time.



…and not just regarding the Jambalaya! The results
are truly astounding. It was hard not to be a bit down
in the mouth as the evening wore on; the sheer numbers
were daunting. We have proven just because the RMA
wants something they are not necessarily going to get
it. It must be pointed out, and appreciated, that the
RMA did not vote as a monolith. The numbers bear this
out. Those clear thinking members deserve great

This union can still belong to the rank and file and
we proved it!

I have lots to say!
But let’s just start with this..
I think all the musicians that aren’t in the rma, whether recording musicians are not,
should join the rma ( i doubt they will turn down our money) and vote the current
rma officers out of office. There you go!! Very simple! 🙂

Soooooo is every meeting going to be about how many for a quorum?? The rma didn’t
get their way…so now will they come up with a new resolution for a quorum….gee..how
about this guys…..half of 125… is 62 1/2 members for a quorum….will that make you
happy now?? Did the the men who wrote the resolution see that they weren’t going to
win and humble themselves at the last minute to change it to 125! When this much
control needs to go on… somebody is scared! What do they think we are going to do
to their profession??

I understanding why the rma would be scared…the business has changed tremendously
and there is not a lot of recording work! But, wasting all of our time with these petty
issues when we could be practicing and looking for work (I even turned down work
last year for one of the meetings) is such a joke. There is always work for the live
performer! But the recording musicians,… very few get to make a living that way!
With the major films doing orchestrations with a few keyboards… hat would be frustrating
to a recording person! I can understand that! But, what does that have to do with thinking
somebody is going to pull a stunt if we only have 50 at a meeting! If there is an important
rma issue I am sure your group will show up! As they did last night! But how many rma
people showed up the last year when many of us just wanted Barbara Markay
and Errol Henry back!

As far as the delegates all voting the same way…if somebody told me how i should vote..i
would tell them to hit the road! What is that about!? Wow! So controlling! Glad I am not
married to any of them! 🙂

Sorry,… had to add some humor to the drama!!

To the Commrep47 people,… THANK YOU!! You are great! And yes you should stay
anonymous, as I can certainly see after this last year and especially after last nights
meeting, how it could affect your careers! And thank you Lisa Haley for your amazing
dedication and all of you who spoke up with such poise and class and intellect..
Chuck, David, Ron, Harriet and many more!!


I resigned because of the Espinosa administration. I never got a job from them in my
15 years of membership. Is the committee moving toward voted these people out? I
know the current administration retained their place in the last election, but they may
not do so if the committee actively works toward their removal in the next election.


April 23 meeting: Whew, what a cliff-hanger!

There was a huge turnout Monday night, the RMA was there in force. But enough of
us were inspired to attend that the attempt to disenfranchise the general membership
by hiking the quorum failed.

A 2/3 vote is required to amend the by-laws, and that fell short—by only 4 votes. We
should all consider ourselves one of those 4 people who made the crucial difference.

By the way, a 2/3 vote is also required to “call the question”—i.e, cut off debate. If that
gets a 2/3 vote, then there is no more discussion, and you go directly to voting on
whatever motion is on the floor. But Local 47 President Hal Espinoza, quite surprisingly
considered the great number of meetings he has attended and chaired over the years, didn’t
know that—he had to consult with the parliamentarian. Then Hal said he had “decided” 2/3
was required. It wasn’t a decision for him to make, it’s a basic fact of parliamentary procedure
that he should have learned long ago.

Back to the quorum controversy: in gathering information on this topic, I learned from the US
Department of Labor that there is a federal law known as the “Union Members Bill of Rights.”
It’s been on the books since 1959, it’s Title I of the Landrum-Griffin Act, here’s what it says:

Bill of Rights
(29 U.S.C. 411)
SEC. 101. (a)(1) EQUAL RIGHTS.– Every member of a labor organization shall have equal rights
and privileges within such organization to nominate candidates, to vote in elections or referendums
of the labor organization, to attend membership meetings and to participate in the deliberations and
voting upon the business of such meetings, subject to reasonable rules and regulations in such
organization’s constitution and bylaws.

(2) FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND ASSEMBLY.– Every member of any labor organization shall have the
right to meet and assemble freely with other members; and to express any views, arguments, or
opinions; and to express at meetings of the labor organization his views, upon candidates in an
election of the labor organization or upon any business properly before the meeting, subject to the
organization’s established and reasonable rules pertaining to the conduct of meetings: Provided,
That nothing herein shall be construed to impair the right of a labor organization to adopt and enforce
reasonable rules as to the responsibility of every member toward the organization as an institution
and to his refraining from conduct that would interfere with its performance of its legal or
contractual obligations.

The US Dept. of Labor has no enforcement power for Title I, but Title I guarantees a union member’s
right to sue:

PROTECTION OF THE RIGHT TO SUE.– No labor organization shall limit the right of any member thereof
to institute an action in any court, or in a proceeding before any administrative agency, irrespective of
whether or not the labor organization or its officers are named as defendants or respondents in such
action or proceeding, or the right of any member of a labor organization to appear as a witness in any
judicial, administrative, or legislative proceeding, or to petition any legislature or to communicate with
any legislator. At the meeting, I read our bill of rights, pointed out (something I also learned from the Dept
of Labor) that whether a quorum hike so large that there’d hardly ever be a meeting was a reasonable or
unreasonable had never been litigated. I also stated that if the quorum hike passed, I would file suit in federal
court. (I didn’t see this, but I’m told Local 47 attorney Louis Levy, who’s also the RMA attorney, rolled his eyes
while I was speaking. I know that he also was talking while I was reading from our bill of rights, and I told him
he needed to pay attention to what was being said.)

After I spoke, RMA activist Jay Rosen berated me for threatening to sue.
I pointed out that it’s my right to sue, asked attorney Louis Levy to confirm that, which he did, (though in my
opinion flippantly,) saying I’d have to pay the filing fees. I said I’d just have to get a lot more work, and said
my intention to sue if the quorum hike passed wasn’t a threat, it was a promise.

Kudos and appreciation to Election Board Chair Michelle Byrne and all the members of the Election Board for
staying till the wee hours of the morning to recount the votes 3 times because the numbers were so close.
Now that the quorum remains at 50, we have to make good use of it—by making it a habit to come to the
membership meetings. Mark your calendar now–the next one is July!

Harriet Katz


Local 47 Brothers and Sisters,
Next time there will be more of the many excellent member comments and other news of the machinations
behind the scenes at the Local!

Your voice… Use it or lose it!

Until next time,

Leave a Reply