A Note to the Delegates

Greetings Colleagues!,

Just a quick note to let you know that because of server problems
the email source may have looked different than it normally does,
but the problem is being resolved. This has also affected the
COMMITTEE’S ability to receive email, so please keep your replies
handy to resend if they don’t go through, we want to hear from you!

We simply cannot not thank all you delegates enough for the warm welcome,
support and interest you gave to the representatives of the COMMITTEE. We
were beyond impressed with everyone me met and came away with a renewed
vigor and feeling of promise for our Federation. The vast majority of
delegates were people of integrity, competence, humor and passion, and
friendships were forged that hopefully will be maintained long after this convention.

This convention, in the COMMITTEE’S opinion, was wonderful for
the vast majority of AFM members! In difficult times, this group of
delegates took many brave and forward thinking positions. The administration
in place now is one that will, in our opinion, put the future of the entire
Federation first. Hopefully we can work on these same goals in our own Local 47.

We’re proud that we could be a small part of this 97th AFM convention
and will fully encourage our Local 47 members to attend the next convention
in three years.

The COMMITTEE would also like to thank our reps for heading to Las
Vegas on their own dime to represent the majority of the Local 47
rank and file.

With that, we have two questions to ask you.

1) Did you find the mailings helpful?
2) Do you wish to continue to receive these mailings?

Please let us know. Hopefully we’ll be able to receive email
tomorrow, but perhaps you should wait till Monday to answer.
We’ll certainly have the email capability back up by then.

Here’s a taste of what awaited us upon returning to Los Angeles.



Once back in Los Angeles, we were hit with yet another action by the
RMALA that caused major hassles, job losses and many letters from
those directly involved. Someone was kind enough to send us the
various letters involved.

Below you will find a summary of the story. It’s pretty rich, and confirms
that you made the right decisions at the convention.



Recently, it was decided that the scores for the Simpsons film
and video game would be done in Los Angeles.

The film was recorded as planned, and it was the intention
of the composer and contractor to record the video game
here in Los Angeles as well, using the AFM’s new video
game contract. . The problem? The RMA Leadership didn’t
like that.

What happened?

At one of the Simpson film sessions, someone put flyers on
the music stands telling the musicians they do not approve
of the AFM video game agreement and that the musicians
the lines wasn’t hard.

What happened then?

Approximately half of the orchestra canceled out of the video
game sessions. Did that work go to other LA musicians? No.
The composer and contractor were so incensed that they took
the score, still union, to San Francisco.

Another five days of double sessions for our members gone.
How many future sessions will be gone thanks to those actions?
We’ll never know.

Please write us and let us know your reaction to these folks
who would rather have you get no work, than work they don’t
approve of.





Dear Colleagues:

Unfortunately, I have been forced to cancel my upcoming sessions for
The Simpsons video game at Todd-AO. Over the past 13 years I have
been a strong supporter of keeping sessions in Los Angeles.
From my early years working with Basil Poledouris and Michael Kamen,
I learned of the amazing musical talent here in Los Angeles. I always
pleaded with the producers of every project to stay in town to score, and
every time it was up to me I chose to stay in LA. The Comebacks, Dr.
Dolittle 3, Tortilla Heaven, Hysteria, A Diva’s Christmas Carol, Warning
Parental Advisory and many others were all “package” deals where the
composer’s fee is whatever is left over after recording and producing
the music. In every single one of these cases I personally chose to make
less money and record union in LA rather than save by going to Prague
or Seattle because I knew the quality would be great, I’d get to work with
friends, and I thought that encouraging and supporting the local musicians
was the right thing to do.

I also convinced EA to record the first union video game score here about
5 years ago. Since then all of the video game companies have been requiring
me to go to London or elsewhere in Europe to record. Over and over again, I
always recommend that they score here in LA, but they didn’t want to consider
this. I was then told by EA that they had made a new agreement that would
enable me to stay here and record with all of you. It was an official sanctioned
union contract with all benefits and health and welfare. I was thrilled until I
learned that people who had played for me for years were being intimidated
and started to back out.

Please, if there is an issue with a contract, then that is an issue for
the union to be taken up with the leadership at a meeting or during
an election process. But by not playing the session, it punishes me
and my music after trying so hard to keep work here in the first place.
Sadly, perhaps my outspoken loyalty was misguided.

For all of you who were still planning on playing, I thank you for your
constant support and loyalty. I look forward to many more years of
continued musical collaborations. To those of you who had decided not
to play, I do understand the competitive nature of this industry. Please
consider that often it is the composer who fights to keep projects here
in the first place. Why would we continue to do so if there is a chance
that our projects could suffer by becoming the battleground of some
political tug of war?

In closing, I will actually sign my letter as opposed to the anonymous
threats you have all been receiving.

Very Sincerely,

Christopher Lennertz


An Open Response to Chris Lennertz:
Thank you for all your efforts to support the local recording community.
Youve written an open letter to a group of people employed at your
pleasure and they obviously are not in a position to respond. Since I
was recording last week with many of the players you address, and since
the wrong people are being blamed for the ruckus around your project, I
felt it necessary to respond.
When you say that musicians should take up issues with AFM leadership
during a meeting or during an election process, it is clear you have not been
given the facts of the problem that players have with their own union. As
odd as it sounds, the AFM leadership is actually hostile to the interests of
recording musicians, and is actively undermining recording agreements.
This is the crux of the matter: The critical details of your players employment
were never disclosed to them. The contract for your project was negotiated
secretly by AFM leaders without input from professionals working under that
contract. It appears to be a buyout deal with no protection whatsoever for the
players from new use by the producer. As the details of this new EA contract
seeped out last week from AFM reps who would not divulge the actual
document, players found themselves stuck in the middle of a mess of the
AFMs making. It is not the musicians fault that they were held in the dark.
How can anyone blame them for balking at terms that would undermine their
The concern in the community is that the AFM President is making it
possible for any production company to record under a Backroom
Buyout Agreement for a so-called video game and then to place those
recordings directly into films, TV, records, etc., with no protection for
the musicians no health care, no pension, no residuals in short, a complete
abandonment of the benefits musicians have fought for for generations.
The AFM leadership actually benefits politically from this byzantine and
dysfunctional situation. The how and why are too complicated to cover
here, but composer Bruce Babcock has written a treatise on the matter which
is attached. His extensive recording experience offers an intelligent historical
In closing, I am not suggesting you have done anything wrong youve tried to
support the community that remains loyal to you. I hope it is clear that the
problem with your sessions has nothing to do with you, but rather everything
to do with the AFMs hostility towards its professional members. I can assure
you that players appreciate your generous efforts on their behalf, that this
situation is new and unusual, and that we all regret the disruption to your project.
Pete Anthony
composer, conductor, orchestrator



June 14, 2007

Hal Espinosa, President
Professional Musicians Local 47
817 N. Vine St.
Hollywood, CA 90038

Dear Hal;

Imagine if AFM President Tom Lee and the IEB approached the management
of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and offered them a pathetically unprofessional
two-page contract that both superseded and undercut the carefully crafted
agreement that the Philharmonic players had spent months negotiating.
Management would quickly sign the new agreement. Decades of hard work
and progress would be forfeited overnight. Musician income and working
conditions would plummet. This is what President Tom Lee and the IEB, with
its amateurish videogame agreement, is doing to freelance recording musicians.
We are seeing a continued crisis of leadership at the highest levels of the AFM
and it must be stopped.

I am very pleased that you are running against Tom Lee for the presidency
of the AFM.
As a rank and file member of Local 47, I have no voice in this decision
but I would like to give you my thoughts on the current AFM situation
in the hope that my perspective as a composer, orchestrator and conductor
in Los Angeles for the past 30 years may be useful in convincing convention
delegates that Tom is not the man for the job.

Certainly your ability to run the largest and busiest local in the Federation
in the black should be enough to win any AFM election, but Tom’s noise
machine could still turn things his way. When I came to town in 1977, I
was awed to be in the same local as Dick Nash, Larry Bunker, Earle Hagen,
Don Christlieb and many others. They were all generous with their time and
expertise and helped me tremendously in becoming successful. It never
occurred to me to anonymously attack their reputations and abilities
in the hope that doing so would advance my own career.


Petrillo’s polices towards producers, essentially legalized blackmail
extorted from producers who wanted to use union musicians, led to
the creation of large tracking libraries, which severely damaged recording
musicians. This ultimately led to the formation of The Guild in the 1950s,
under the leadership of the courageous Cecil Read.

Fuentealba’s insane 1980 strike, overlooking the simple fact that no
strike in Hollywood has a chance of success unless the absence of the
striking workers can stop production, plus the sweetheart deal with jingle
house Tuesday Productions, created intolerable conditions for working
musicians which led to the incorporation of a nationwide RMA.

Now Tom Lee’s multiple “parallel” videogame agreements, which undercut
the national agreement created by RMA, have created conditions so bleak that
once again a new guild, PMG, has been born. If Tom succeeds in undermining
our best national contracts and unionizing the recording of library music, the
recording of music by professional musicians will cease to be a viable profession.

History is repeating itself, and the archaic and undemocratic nature of the
AFM bylaws allow it. As working musicians, the best we can typically hope
for from our AFM president is a benign dictatorship. Unfortunately, we are
frequently saddled with a tyrannical dictatorship, and Petrillo, Fuentealba
and Lee represent the worst of these.
What all three have in common is an inexplicable personal animus towards
recording musicians, and Los Angeles recording musicians in particular. Petrillo
used the phrase “Communist fiddle players.” Fuentealba supporter and #802
New York president Max Arons used the term “jerks in LA” during the
1980-81 strike. Recently, Tom Lee running mate and AFM Treasurer-
Secretary Sam Folio has referred to LA musicians as “rich pricks.”


Now Tom has chosen to use his position as president, immediately before
the convention, to “respond” to the April 22, 2007 “Variety” piece about
the current AFM situation. What President Lee does not mention is that he
was contacted by “Variety” and he refused to comment for the article.
He also does not mention that his 1200 word screed of “response” was
not published.

His refusal to speak with “Variety” is typical of Mr. Lee’s consistent
inability to deal with professionals on a professional level. His rant is reminiscent
of his eight page vendetta against Brian O’Connor and Jay Rosen a few years
ago, as well as his insistence that he would only meet with Local 47 and RMA
member Phil Ayling in the presence of a professional mediator. I wonder if the
delegates are aware that Mr. Lee, midway through his sixth year in office, has
attended exactly one Local 47 general meeting, at which more than two dozen
musicians spoke in opposition to his policies, and not one single person spoke
on his behalf.

There are so many problems with Tom’s diatribe that one hardly knows
where to begin.

Lee refers to “apparent dissatisfaction” with the AFM by a “tiny number” of
Los Angeles musicians. The dissatisfaction is real, not apparent, and has
been brewing since shortly after Lee’s election (with RMA backing) as AFM
president in 2001. The dissatisfied group is hardly tiny, and not confined to LA.
When the AFM president controls the spin of the IM, the only Federation-
wide publication we have, he can call the current situation an “apparent”
problem coming from a “tiny” group but he knows that this is not the case.
Unfortunately, the majority of AFM members may well believe him.

Since Tom controls IM, he can simply suppress any letters that dare to
challenge his absurd contentions. In November of 2004 I wrote a letter to
both IM & Overture, which stated that the financial crisis the Federation
faced was far more a crisis of leadership than of finance. In August of 2005,
in his first IM column since his re-election, Tom Lee stated that the AFM is
“one of the most democratic unions in the history of the labor movement,”
despite the obvious fact that no union which denies its members the right
to directly elect their own representatives, and to authorize strikes, can
be considered democratic. I wrote a second letter challenging this
demonstrably false statement. Neither letter appeared in IM. Both appeared
in Overture. RMA, an AFM player conference, is virtually ignored by
IM as well.

The IEB is also insulated from accountability by the AFM bylaws. In
2004, after Tom Lee cancelled an appearance at an RMALA meeting,
I wrote a detailed email with ten specific questions and sent it to seven
IEB members. I got a response from exactly one member, who categorized
my concerns about the SRSPF, the pension fund, Seattle, the RMA VG
agreement health care component, the AFM financial crisis and other
pertinent issues as a “fruitless pissing match.” The other six members
simply ignored me.

Lee claims that the AFM has 90,000 members. I don’t think the AFM
knows how many members they have since they count so many of them
multiple times. According to RMA figures, AFM membership totaled
103,000 in June of 2001 and had dropped to 70,000 by December, 2006.
That is a 32% decline during Lee’s watch. Yet expenses and salaries
have increased.


Tom Lee feels that “technology” and “globalization” account for the
problems recording musicians face today. The fact is that the globalization
of the American recording business was set in motion by the bad policies
of Fuentealba and Petrillo decades ago, long before American companies
began outsourcing customer service and technical support to India. But it is
also true that globalization can work in our favor. A couple of years ago,
using the RMA VG agreement, I conducted a MMORPG game score for
a Korean company who employed a very fine composer from Austin, Texas.
Companies and composers around the world know and appreciate the added
value of a score recorded in Hollywood. Both the producers and composer
had the express desire to score their project in LA and were thrilled with
the results. IEB-approved deals which contain no meal breaks or cancellation
policy are not the answer to globalization.

“Technology” does not explain why in 19 years the AFM has done absolutely
nothing about the non-AFM situation in Seattle. This has cost the AFM and its
members millions of dollars of employment. It was technology, however,
that made it possible for Local 47 musicians to score the film “King Kong” in
Los Angeles in 2005 while the director finished his post production work in
New Zealand. After Peter Jackson rejected an earlier score, recorded in New
Zealand, James Newton Howard composed and rescored over three hours of
new music for the film in six weeks, in Los Angeles, utilizing video
conferencing with Jackson in New Zealand via high-speed Internet hookup.
They never met until the film premiered in New York. I was one of those
musicians. We do this everyday.

LA musicians do not claim “things have been just fine in the video game
world.” However, the $1,000,000 earned under the existing agreement is
thanks entirely to RMA because we created the agreement, adopted in 2003.
The AFM had no viable VG agreement during the preceding decades, sitting
idly by while games became a bigger industry than films.

As a result of Lee’s false “reality,” he has fostered the creation of multiple
VG agreements which violate the very essence of unionism and will quickly
lead to less employment for musicians. He claims that he is doing this at the
behest of New York and San Francisco musicians. If this is true, what Lee
and these musicians don’t understand is that the entertainment business is
based on relationships. These musicians and any other AFM musicians
anywhere are welcome to cultivate business relationships with any
entertainment companies they wish. That is why we have national contracts.
There have always been many wonderful musicians in cities throughout the
AFM but they have never before been allowed to undermine our national
contracts to steal a share of the market.

Tom Lee and the IEB have slapped together an amateurish 2 page anti-
union agreement (compared to 32 pages of the carefully thought out RMA
VG) without consultation or ratification by the musicians who make up the
affected bargaining unit. This is exactly what Fuentealba did with Tuesday
Productions in the 1980s. How is this not a violation of labor law?

Lee says his new VG agreement is “working fine.” In fact, Lee is giving
away contract provisions which are not his to give away. Extra payment for
doubling and provisions against multitracking exist to preserve jobs. Without
these provisions, violin sections will quickly shrink from 24 to 12. Woodwind
sections will shrink from 12 to 4. And this will “capture” work from non-
union venues? In fact, fewer musicians will be employed and less work dues
income for the AFM will be the result. Interestingly, neither the IM nor the
Local 6 announcements touting the brilliance of the new IEB-approved VG
agreement mention any of the actual contract terms.

Let’s look at just one clause from Tom’s new “AFM new deal” agreement
– cartage. “The employer shall pay reasonable cartage costs for heavy
instruments.” Who decides what is “reasonable”? Who does the harpist negotiate
with? The contractor? Composer? Producer? Rupert Murdoch? The RMA
agreement, created by professionals, specifically spells out the cartage costs
for each instrument. Would Tom Lee sign a contract, which stated, “The AFM
shall pay its president a reasonable salary”?


Tom apparently wants to turn the recording industry into a giant library music
factory. If any recorded music can be used in any platform, at any time, we
are no longer collaborative artists in the film, television, game, jingle and
recording industries. We will have become simply vendors of music by the
pound, with the same professional stature as the guy who supplies the bagels
and coffee to actors on a set. What Lee either doesn’t understand or doesn’t
care about is that every time a library session occurs, it makes it much less
likely that a composer will be hired to create an original score using union
musicians. Anyone aware of the history of television music in the 1950s
knows this.

If the current structure of the recording business is dismantled by the AFM,
it will be the rank and file musicians, and younger musicians, who will be
hurt the most. If FMSMF payments are eliminated, payment for doubling
is eliminated, and unlimited multitracking and multiplatform uses are allowed,
those at the top of the pyramid who have the direct connection to employers
and studios (orchestrators, librarians, conductors) will continue to thrive.
Their upfront fees will certainly increase. Rank and file players, without the
security of historic contract protections, and with no residual income down the
line, will be the losers. Locals which do not have the relationships and business infrastructure to function in the recording world will never get a significant share
of the market. While it may sound like a democratic idea to “spread the work
around,” there is nothing democratic about policies, which eliminate protections
and preclude economic security. Fewer jobs, less members per job, with lesser
benefits, are not the hallmarks of progressive trade unionism.


Lee states that the success of Los Angeles musicians is due to the fact that
we “happen” to live here. This is an insult. We are here by design. We are
here because we came from all over the United States and around the world to Hollywood, the center of the entertainment business, to work with the
musicians of Professional Musicians Local 47.
This was our business plan. Unlike some of Tom’s supporters, we know that
people skills are as important as talent, and we do not expect the AFM to
act as an employment agency on our behalf.

We don’t “happen” to enjoy high pay. The wages and benefits we receive are
due to the efforts of the many rank and file colleagues who preceded us. This
process took decades and was successful despite the opposition, ignorance and intransigence of “leaders” such as Petrillo, Fuentealba and Lee. We do not
appreciate having these hard- won gains given away.


The Seattle orchestra is a “buyout” orchestra, created almost 20 years ago
specifically to take work from Local 47 musicians. Lee thinks that AFM
recording orchestras in other cities should give “buyouts” as well.

Unions do not allow their members to be bought out. We are professionals.
All professionals in the film business receive health and pension coverage.
All participate in backend earnings in one form or another, many from the
first box office dollar. Our FMSMF earnings are derived only from films
that make a profit. Our salaries are paid with borrowed funds, after the film
is already over budget and behind schedule.
Apparently the IEB and President Lee don’t understand the nature of these
two income streams, and why it is increases in salaries, not potential
FMSMF payments, that discourage union employment in the current

This is why RMA has proactively created a variety of low budget agreements
and adjusted many of our former new use and reuse provisions so that payment
is not triggered until certain sales plateaus are reached. It is one thing to work
with our business partners in the film world and make contract adjustments
based on changing times. It is quite another to voluntarily promote the forfeiture
of professional business practices.

What the AFM should be focusing on is not the cost of recording per musician
per hour but rather the value added created by employing the most
experienced musicians. I once scored a film with a $1000 music budget with a
signed assumption agreement.
The filmmakers understood the concept of value added. The concept applies
no matter what the budget may be. This is also what the producers of “King
Kong” understood and our elected leaders do not. “King Kong,” for me, was
the most remarkable chapter in my years in the recording industry due to the
extreme amount of music recorded, the short schedule, and the extraordinary
quality of the results. And not a word of this story appeared in IM.


Interestingly, what did appear in IM, in the June 2007 issue, was a piece by
composer Lennie Moore designed to shill the new IEB-approved VG agreements.
When Mr. Moore was featured at an ASMAC workshop in 2004, his bio highlighted
his work in Seattle and Salt Lake.

LENNIE MOORE — Lennie has developed a career over the last decade in
Los Angeles as an accomplished composer, orchestrator and arranger of music
for film, television and multimedia with a wide range of writing music in many
styles, from jazz to pop to symphonic orchestra. He has composed music for ten
films, orchestrated for other composers on dozens of feature films and television
movies, over 100 commercials, and has composed a breathtaking 60-minute
symphonic score for orchestra and choir for the hit CD-ROM game “Outcast” which
was nominated for Best Music by the AIAS (Academy of Interactive Arts
and Sciences). Currently, Lennie has just finished completing the music
for “Dragonshard,” a PC Real-Time Strategy game for Atari which combines
live orchestral musicians along with electronics and samples. He has worked
with many orchestras around the world as a composer/conductor, including the
Moscow and Munich Symphony Orchestras, San Francisco Opera, as well as
orchestras in Los Angeles, Toronto, Seattle, and Salt Lake City.

How nice of the AFM to provide a forum to a person who proudly advertises
his non- union credits.

Mr. Moore complains about the “public vitriol” from the PMG as reported by
the press. Since, to my knowledge, there has been a total of one article in the
mainstream press about the PMG, in which one member is quoted for a
couple of sentences, with no evidence of vitriol, I’m not sure what Mr. Moore is
talking about.

What Mr. Moore and Mr. Lee do not mention are the anonymous emails
and mailings being sent all over the Federation in which RMA members are
personally attacked. We have seen emails that ridicule the playing ability and
discuss the religion of members.
We have seen Serena Williams, a bereaved widow in her 80s, currently on
medical leave from her position as Local 47 secretary, accused of conspiracy.
We have seen stories that state that the success of RMA musicians is, like the
results of World Wrestling Federation matches, fake. We have been treated to
stories about a mysterious cabal of 150 “elite” musicians who “control” the work
in town. We have seen the uninformed demonization of contractors, when in fact
it is composers, most specifically the composers who the AFM has failed to
recruit for the past generation, who hire musicians. The fact is that the real
vitriol is coming from the supporters of Tom Lee in the form of wild allegations
and ALL CAPS rants, all of which reflect an immaturity and lack of
professionalism unprecedented in my experience as a union member.

Tom’s cheerleaders would have the delegates believe that we are “greedy”
and “elite.” It was RMA who spearheaded the campaign to raise Local 47
work dues in January of 2004. We want and need a strong Local 47. RMA
members are not advocating opting for financial core status, which hurts
both the AFM and the local. It is Tom’s cheerleaders who are educating their
email list subscribers about “core” status. RMA officers, board members and
rank & file have spent countless unpaid hours at AFM conferences, negotiations
and meetings contributing their expertise and experience on behalf of all

And if, as Mr. Moore claims, the AFM “seems more suited to deal with the
needs of emerging industries such as video games” than the PMG, why
did the Federation have no viable VG agreement in place until the RMA
created one in 2002? The video game industry began “emerging,” as Moore
points out, in 1984.

Apparently Mr. Moore and the IEB feel that trade unionism is optional.
Union contracts may be used when convenient but if you like, please go
right ahead and work non- union. And be proud of it. Seattle recording?
Go right ahead. Rest assured that the IEB will do nothing.

I guess I’m old school. I thought joining a labor union meant working
union – period. I was taught that any union member working non-union
hurts all of us. I was taught that labor unions protect their members and
their contracts.


It is also very interesting to see Sam Folio’s June IM column entitled “The
Convention Must Decide the Federation’s Fate.” How nice it would be if
professional musicians – all of them – decided the Federation’s fate.

I wonder how many of the 300+ delegates will consider the “no taxation
without representation” implications of any new FMSMF and SRSPF taxes
on recording musicians across the AFM?

I would like to know if Mr. Folio’s reference to Jimmy Hoffa is intended as
a threat of violence towards those “rich pricks” that he dislikes.

I would like to know how Mr. Folio could be surprised when recording
musicians react negatively to the undemocratic and tyrannical actions of
an AFM president. Has he never read “For the Record,” the history of Cecil
Read and The Guild? Has he never read the famous Readers Digest article
“The Union That Fights its Workers?” Have the delegates never read these
either? I’ve met and learned a great deal from dozens of Guild members over
the years. How is it possible that our leaders have learned nothing from
our history?

Interestingly, none of this history appears on the AFM website at:

I would like to know why Local 47 musicians need not be consulted by the
IEB when a new VG agreement is crafted, but become very necessary
when a huge tax on their FMSMF & SRSPF income is needed to bail out
the AFM. Mr. Lee and his administration are the first in our history, due
to their own unsound financial polices, to tax the SRSPF and the FMSMF,
and now plan to do it again.

I would like the delegates to ask Tom Lee why the AFM made a deal with
MTV for the 2006 MTV Music Video Awards show that undercuts our
existing AFM Videotape Agreement.

I would like the delegates to ask Tom Lee why he allowed recordings by
the Los Angeles Philharmonic to be licensed into a non-union Paramount
film entitled “There Will be Blood,” exempt from FMSMF obligations.

I would like the delegates to ask Tom Lee why music I orchestrated for
the film “Sweet November,” plus music from seven other major films was used,
with AFM permission, with no payment made to any AFM musicians in the
film “Miss Congeniality 2.”

I would like to know why the AFM sanctions the use of music recorded under
the Phono Agreement to be used in films, costing musicians huge amounts
of lost FMSMF income.


I would like the delegates to ask Tom Lee why, as Lennie Moore correctly
claims, it can “take months to get one of these promulgated (VG) agreements
approved” by the AFM, and yet Tom says this agreement is “working fine”?
Why should any employer have to wait more than one business day for project
approval? How many games have we lost, not because of the cost of the
musicians, but because of the inability of the AFM to function competently?

I would like the delegates to ask Tom Lee why AFM musicians formerly enjoyed
the benefits of 100% live scoring in network television, after years of hard
fought negotiations, and today the AFM, charged with enforcing the TV/Film
contract, has no idea who is providing music for these shows and what percentage
of them are using the contract. By the way, the most expensive one-hour
television series I scored had a weekly budget of $1.75 million with a music
budget of about 2% of that total, within the historical TV/Film norm of 2-4%.
With top tier VG budgets now ranging from $20-30 million, up from only $4-5
million a few years ago, it is difficult to see how musician costs are crippling
the game industry.

I would like the delegates to ask Tom Lee why he claimed that he had no
responsibility to oversee SRSPF administrator Enex Steele, who stole $200,000
from the Phono fund, but has repeatedly copied AFM correspondence filled
with baseless attacks on FMSMF administrator Dennis Dreith to Nick Counter
at the AMPTP. Dennis, a man of true integrity, has been a staunch trade unionist
and advocate for recording musicians for decades, and has both cut expenses
and recovered huge sums of money for musicians as administrator of the Fund.

I would like the delegates to ask Tom Lee why the AFM pension fund has added
four trustees (and their associated expenses) since 2003 while the pension
multiplier of current workers has been devalued twice during Tom’s presidency,
even though stock indexes have regained the losses experienced in recent years
and are now at or near record highs.

I could continue with these questions indefinitely. The fact is that the AFM
is considered an embarrassment by its fulltime professional members, and
functions as an international music club for those who are not. There is a reason
we are known as “the Costco of entertainment unions” among labor professionals. Knowledgeable musicians also know that Local 47 has been well run by Hal
Espinosa and his team, in spite of the negativity and lack of cooperation coming
from the Federation.


The reality is that none of the current AFM officers would currently hold office
if the fulltime working musicians across the Federation who pay the bills were
allowed the basic democratic right to elect their own representatives. The core
motivation of these officers is to keep their salaries and benefits. This is best
achieved by creating class warfare between the “elite” and the convention
delegates. The parallels between the Bush administration and the Lee administration
are striking. The stifling of dissent. Personal attacks. Financial recklessness. Incompetence. Secrecy. Willful ignorance. A failure to acknowledge reality.

We need an AFM administration that understands that their responsibility
is one of service, not sovereignty. A labor union, to thrive in the 21st century,
needs a grassroots-up organization, not a top-downward militaristic structure.

A race to the bottom, in the interest of unionizing the entertainment companies
who value music the least, at the expense of the musicians who are most committed
to trade unionism, is a losing strategy. My sincere hope, Hal, is that this year’s
delegates will recognize the gravity of our current situation and will not repeat
the mistakes of the past. I wish you all the best in your campaign.


Bruce Babcock
Professional Musicians Local 47


Letter I:

Dear Colleagues:

The video game sessions for “The Simpsons” are scheduled for next week at
Todd AO under a brand-new agreement created quietly by AFM leadership
with the video game production company, “Electronic Arts” (“E.A.”).

The contract for these sessions is neither the familiar RMA-generated agreement
nor the dumbed-down competing agreement adopted in parallel by the IEB some
months ago.
Your contract next week is yet a THIRD agreement created secretly by
Federation leadership, without input from anyone actually working on this job.
It is a de facto LIBRARY DEAL, a “BUYOUT.” Please see for yourself – call
Carol Sato at the Federation 213-251-4510, or call our AFM President Tom Lee
800-762-3444 and request to see the very brief contract you have accepted by
taking the call.

What was disclosed in the Dateline email is that the new agreement does not
protect you from multi-tracking, or provide extra pay for doubling. What you
do NOT know is that after the sessions, the producers will own and administer
the recordings free and clear, without any new-use protection. The producers
will be able to license the recordings into movies, TV, records, or other video
games without any further payment, pension contribution, MP health contribution,
or FMSMF participation.

In short, this new VG agreement undermines all existing recording contracts.
The next film score or record you work on could very well be called a “video
game,” and you will have been cashed out – no pension, no health care, no
secondary markets, no re-use… NOTHING. In the long term this library
agreement won’t create more work, it will create less work – simply put, it will
hurt the people who can afford it the least.

Yes, these sessions are ‘legal’ because they were sanctioned by the AFM –
the greater question is whether they are ‘right.’ This backroom deal will
allow motion picture and record producers to create product using this library
agreement and bypass ALL the benefits fought for and enjoyed by working
musicians for decades.

Please ask the hard questions and demand to know what you are being
asked to do. Don’t become an unwitting participant in a political campaign
that will undermine your working conditions. Let’s pull together and be
informed – please pass the word.


Letter 2:

There is a video game project that many of us were called for at the
end of the month. There was some undisclosed information concerning
conditions for this job. After speaking with the AFM office, it was
explained that the job is considered an “all inclusive” package, where
by the music recorded belongs to the video game company.

Basically, this means we would be recording for library use. The
music can be used for other games, movies, tv, ring tones, and
commercials without any new use payment to us.

This is a very serious problem because it decreases the need for this
company to hire us in the future and it weakens our bargaining position
for the upcoming motion picture/tv agreements. If we give away our skills
and talents for video games, other media will soon follow.

Each of us need to evaluate whether it is worth the $1,000 dollars
we can make now to lose future earnings, and more importantly, to
undermine our bargaining position in upcoming negotiations.

Please consider this in making your decision to take this work and
feel free to forward this e-mail to anyone you think might be interested.



The letters speak for themselves, and as members who live and work in Los
Angeles we can tell you that the inaccuracies in the above letters are
plentiful. We could go into detail but we suspect you well understand

Also, there are members of the COMMITTEE who know both Lennie Moore
and Chris Lennertz. Both are composers of the highest caliber and integrity.
Composers must contend with the desires of the producers, if they do not,
they don’t work. Anyone who composes for a living knows this.

Please let us know if you would like to keep getting our mailings.
Knowledge is power, and we want a powerful AFM membership, fully
versed on all sides.

Thank you for reading, and thanks to all the wonderful people we met
at the convention. You’re the best!


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