Greetings Colleagues!

Please put the next General Membership meeting on your calendar.
It’s on Monday October 22nd at 7 PM. We understand there will be
refreshments served, so come early and enjoy!
Since the RMA has had five meetings before our October 22nd meeting,
we will need you there to help protect the rank and file voice, should
it become necessary.




Did you get President Espinosa’s latest? The Local 47 email reporting
on how they stopped the New Era scoring session?

Last week Mr. Espinosa, Mr. Trombetta and the RMA leadership
were so busy patting each other on the back that they didn’t notice the
NES session went on as scheduled, albeit in a different location.

This most recent email directly from Mr. Espinosa and the Local
is far more insidious than the earlier RMA mailing though. Why?

•We believe Mr. Espinosa was fully aware that the NES session
took place.
•Film Music Magazine published an article about the session last
Tuesday, September 25th.
•The Local wrote a letter to the Film Music Magazine the very
next day, Wednesday, September 26th.
•This latest notice from Mr. Espinosa went out a full day later.
Certainly Mr. Espinosa would have had to have been informed.

Further, he refers to the fi-core musicians as “scabs”. Not too long
ago every single one of those professional musicians was a loyal and
devoted AFM Local 47 member, some for years, many for decades.


Eventually, the musicians who chose fi-core status had to put paying their
mortgages and bills ahead of staying loyal to a Local run by an
administration competent only in genuflecting to the RMA leadership
and continuing to turn a blind eye to anyone else’s needs. That’s
not to say there aren’t employees at the Local doing a wonderful
job for the entire membership. There are. It’s just that they neither
have offices upstairs, nor a say in policy.

Espinosa calling these former members, who only left because of
his and others’ incompetence and indifference “scabs”, begs the
question asked so many years ago of one Sen. Joseph McCarthy:
“You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At
long last, have you left no sense of decency?”


So here we have President Espinosa telling members things we believe
he knows to be untrue in an official Local 47 e-mail. There are lots of
other examples we could cite, but chances are you know them already.
His penchant for spin is already well-documented.


We also have VP Trombetta’s willful dishonesty to members in
two Overture columns in a row.
•In August, he said he was close to winning a seat on the IEB at
the recent AFM Convention when three others would have had to
resign or kick the bucket for him to be “close” (He lost by 49 votes).
•In September’s Overture he says fi-core musicians can have “no
contracts”, a blatant and obvious lie anyone with an internet
connection can expose.


On the subject of the NES session-that-wasn’t-but-really-was,
we got much, but not all, of our info from a Film Music Magazine
article. You can access it here,

Why are our Executive officers so selective in their indignation
and use of Local muscle (such as it is) in trying to act against NES
but not the PMG? Why do they continue to allow an officer of the PMG
to remain as an officer and a part-time employee of the Local AND
have content-confidential meetings with our board on a regular basis?
Read the EB minutes. RMA or PMG Officials have become frequent
attendees of Board meetings, many times in executive session.

When our Local is being UNJUSTLY criticized we defend them, as
we have in the Taft-Hartley situation below. Unfortunately, such
situations are few and far between.



We’ve gotten some very angry letters from former members who
have chosen Beck Status (fi-core), accusing the Local of sending Taft–
Hartley letters to leaders and contractors telling them of specific
musicians who are no longer members and that those musicians
must join the union within 30 days if they want to continue to
work under Union contracts.

According to the Local 47 Electronic Media Administrator, John
Acosta, letters go out automatically if a member resigns then turns
up on contracts the Local receives. This system has been in place
for years. He agrees that Taft-Hartley letters should not be sent out
for FEE PAYING Beck/Fi-Core musicians’ participation, only to non-
union musicians. The hitch seems to be the period between the time
a member resigns and their Beck Status is established.

If you are told by a leader that that they received one of these letters
concerning you, you must verify that your change in status has been

Here is a letter received by a member from John Acosta addressing
this concern.:


From John Acosta:

Obviously anything that I do that has legal ramifications must be
Approved by our Attorney. I am not sure what letter you are referring
to but I am guessing it is a Taft Hartley letter. If a musician has
resigned from the union or is a non-member these letters go out
automatically, they have been for sometime, I inherited this process.
If the musician elects his Beck rights and is in that process it could be
that the Taft-Hartley process was initiated somewhere in the middle
of the transition.

We do not and have not EVER “outed” a musician for being Beck
status that would be completely inappropriate. I respect an individual’s
right to choose which type of affiliation to the union he or she selects,
always have and always will. As you know I have a fiduciary
responsibility to keep this Local free from litigation.

Lastly, I feel it is important for your readers to know that I have
Always felt it is a privilege to serve this Local and ALL of its

John Acosta
Electronic Media Administrator



Apparently, people in authority (the ones WE pay for) at our Local, have
been telling people that FEE PAYING FI-CORE MUSICIANS cannot
file union contracts. This is not true. The Local personnel passing on
these falsehoods are either ignorant of the law or willfully misleading
members. Some in the Local’s Administration are counting on the membership
not knowing the laws or bylaws to continue to get away with such stunts.

The arguments for remaining a member are strong enough that the Local
should not have to stoop to intellectual dishonesty to get people to stay, but
apparently they do.

From breaking federal labor law to block fi-core musicians from rehearsing with CBA orchestras on the premises to lying about fi-core musicians’ ability to file contracts, this Local, OUR Local, is proving to be as dishonest with what they tell the members as Halliburton or Enron were with their employees.

Are they purposefully trying to destroy whatever trust the members may
have left?

Here is a letter we received from a fi-core contractor/musician, incensed
by the Local’s dishonesty. This former full member is as pro-union as
anyone, but could not take the Executive Officers’ being mere lackeys
for the RMA leadership any longer.


Dear Committee,

I’ve been filing contracts as a FI CORE BECK STATUS musician for
about six months. I have not been affected in any way as far as filing
union contracts as a leader/contractor or a sideman.

I have been able to file: SELA contracts, LA 1 casual contracts, Video
game contracts, Phono, demo contracts with no interference from Local
47 or the Federation whatsoever. I suggest anyone who is FI CORE
BECK to read the actual language of those SUPREME COURT decisions.

You are allowed to be protected under any Collective Bargaining
Agreements if you are BECK status as long as you continue to pay your
yearly membership dues (fees) and monthly work dues (fees).

You are in fact a DUES paying NON MEMBER allowed to work both
sides of the coin without ANY DISCRIMINATION.

Please pass this on.



DANIEL PEARL WORLD MUSIC DAYS SGI-USA Presents The American Victory Orchestra Conducted by Patrick Scott

‘Handel to Hancock’ Program, with an international flavor, includes: Handel, Bach, Lauridsen, Puccini, Lara, Mozart, Falvo/Schubach, Hancock Sunday • October 7, 2007 • 2:00 World Peace Ikeda Auditorium 525 Wilshire Boulevard Santa Monica 90401 Free parking in structure behind 7-11 on Wilshire and 7th Street Admission Free! Featuring Soprano Elise Richel and Special Guests: Loyola Marymount University Consort Singers, with Dr. Mary C. Breden Flamenco Dancer Claudia De La Cruz ; John Simpson, guitarist, & Co. Soka University Indian Dance Club ‘Ghungroo’
Dr. Miri Hunter Haruach, Original Songs with the Tar
Also Enjoy ‘From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit’ Exhibit in the Lobby
Visit For more information • 818-992-8342 or 818-591-0679 • [email protected]



The views expressed here are those of the participating readers and
not necessarily those of the COMMITTEE.


In the recent issue of “The Overture”, our Local 47 President, Vice
President and Secretary/Treasurer all published articles pleading
with the Local 47 membership not to assert their Beck Status
(Fi-Core) rights. They characterize this as “union-busting”. Having
spoken to several current union-members and former union-members,
I have reached the conclusion that members would not be asserting
their Beck Status if the Local 47 and AFM policies and practices didn’t
drive them to do so. Here is what I would call “union-busting”:

– The threat of a $50,000 fine for trying to make a living by accepting
non-union gigs.
– The elimination of valuable union services (for full-union members).
– The arrogance of the board during meetings and their preferential
treatment of the union-elite.
– The monopolization of the top session gigs by mainly one contractor
and the ‘A-List’ musicians, causing the rest of the majority of members
to scrounge for what work is left (and has not already left Los Angeles).

It seems to me that whether a member resigns completely or just asserts
their Beck Status rights, anything that motivates them to do so (as
mentioned above) will weaken the union.

The record companies have had a similar history of creating one-sided
artist contracts with language that puts the artist at a financial disadvantage.
It took some time, but look where they are now – more and more artists
have gone independent and the record companies are suffering due to
their own arrogance and predatory business practices. As long as our
union leadership keeps trying to sell the myth that they are helping ALL
members and instead maintain policies that do not – and in fact, threaten
our financial well-being, their words will fall on deaf ears.


Regarding this fi-core rehearsals mess.

Thinking “logically,” as you put it, musicians
have the right to refuse to join the union, but
what is happening with the rehearsal rooms is a
great example of the problems that can arise from
this refusal. I suggest you involved musicians
take the blinders off and look around you. The
union is “us;” it is not “them.” I suggest that
it is more cost effective in both time and money,
in the long run, to work with the system instead
of against it. It might have appeared easier to
delude yourselves in thinking that the union
administration “drove you” to choose to pay
agency fees, but that is a childish response.
You affected musicians now have to spend valuable
time in knee-jerk response, fighting this problem
as well as the Pasadena POPS problem and the
dwindling membership problem. You might consider
spending that valuable time working within the
union instead – such as showing up at meetings
and doing what adult union members do, ORGANIZE.
You have plenty of support from the rest of us.
Look at the huge turnout when the vote on bylaws
changes happened. An effectively worded email
can effect changes drastically. Otherwise, you
are just spinning your wheels for nothing.

In the past it was hard to organize opposition in
these cases. Not any more. The internet gives
us the power of communication. For example, we
subscribers of KPFK and Pacifica Radio saved the
stations from being taken over and sold off by
corporate predators only because of this powerful
communication tool Unlike the musicians, we
didn’t expect the Pacifica board of directors to
act in the best interests of the station without
keeping an eye on them. So, when the board went
astray, we didn’t just wait and whine, we
organized and used our time effectively. It took
us two years; democracy is not fast. Of course,
we succeeded so well because, unlike most of the
musicians, Pacifica subcribers are also activists
used to being a pain-in-the neck in the first

I strongly suggest that you use this platform you
have created with these emails to be proactive
where it will be the most effective instead of
reactive with this string of knee-jerk responses
after the damage is done. (You might also have
someone review your writings for grammar and
effective writing.)

Complacency is usually rewarded with being

The so-called “merger” with the Pasadena POPS,
for example. No one was paying attention or that
would not have progressed so far. The union
officers “approved!!!???” the so-called merger
without even looking into it because no one was
watching over them. The orchestra musicians have
no one to blame but themselves for acting like
dependent children, stupidly assuming that their
union leaders were parenting them. When no one
is watching the store, bad things happen. Stop
whining. This is whining: quote from your email:
“it’s the Espinosa Administration policies and
conduct that drove many musicians to choose
fi-core status to begin with.” Come on!!! Stop
whining, look in the mirror and put the blame
where it belongs. No one can “drive you” to do
anything without your permission.

REFERAL LOCATION REMOVAL,” below, this is also
reactive whining and, without leadership, severly
ineffective: “It seems that the only vote of the
rank-and-file that they respect is the one that
put them in office. Beyond that…” Pay
attention to what you wrote. Union officers
reading this are laughing at you.

Start using your valuable, irreplaceable time
more effectively. In other words, grow up and
act like adults.


Comm Resp 47 reported:

“New York, NY — In a bold move to capture a greater share of
the Video Game Scoring market, the American Federation of
Musicians of the United States and Canada’s International
Executive Board has authorized its Officers to enter into a series
of “one-off” agreements with terms that are consistent with current
industry practice. ”

It seems to me that the Federation is undercutting it’s own CBA on
Video Games. Perhaps the Federation should renegotiate that
contract with the Video Game people and quit making deals that
don’t have the input of the working musicians. That is the appropriate
way for a Union to act.

They did this with the Theatrical Touring Agreements and look
what happened. Now we have Low Budget Pamphlet B and Virtual
Orchestra as part of the deal.

Perhaps it is time to remember what Gary Mule Dear said.: “If you are
in the entertainment business and want to work for a little less money every
year you can work for the rest of your life”
……Gary Mule Dear

Isn’t it time the Federation and Locals finally decide to quit competing
with the union musicians doing non union work? That is GET OUT
OF THE OFFICE and see whats going on and fix it,not sit in the office
and negotiate CRUMMY (I wanted to use another word) deals. Or if
the majority of musicians want the CRUMMY deals lets go back and
renegotiate the original deal to be CRUMMY so we all get more lower
paying work.

The idea of the Federation or Local negotiating a deal without member
participation and then ratifying that deal with IEB or Local Board votes
and not member votes is not acceptable.

Perhaps some of you think your vote is not important, but I think mine
is very important and want the opportunity to influence my own work
and not leave it up to our WISE, OMNIPOTENT officials.

(Editor’s comment: In the last year with “those who do the work”
controlling the terms, Video Game recording was down to six A YEAR.
When the new AFM contract began being advertised someone from the
Eastman Scoring Stage at Warner Brothers reported six requests for
Video Game sessions in ONE MONTH. So then, who gets results?
Don’t take our word for it, check the facts yourself.)


Hey Guys,

Thanks for keeping me in the loop.


I have spoken directly to a musician who played on the Sept. 22
NES recording session. Why is Hal Espinosa saying that this session
was cancelled when in fact it was just moved to another location?
This certainly seems to be deceptive advertising on the union’s part
to make it look like they have accomplished something for 47 members
when they have not.


….concerning the Mr. Espinosa email about stopping the NES session:

I’m not to sure of the law. To me this is officially advocating to keep persons
from working when they have every right to work, including Fi-Core members.
Otherwise, why else would you have a fi-core option?

I would think that the Union is treading on some thin ice and future law suits
from preventing and interfering with persons seeking employment.

Are they really trying to stop NES? Or is their real motive to prevent FI-CORE
members from seeking employment?


Until next time,


Leave a Reply