This bulletin is a long read, but we hope you’ll take the time to read it. It is VERY informative.

In this edition
I. Update on the 2004-2005 Scholarship situation
II. The Grokster decision
III. A Reply concerning Local 47’s October NON-meeting
IV. Resolution of the Rachmaninoff Competition situation.

We hope you’re all having a great and profitable Holiday season. There’s much to cover this time around, so without further delay:

I.) LOCAL 47 member Charles Fernandez has sent us an update concerning the 2004-2005 Scholarship awarded to the son of Vice-President Vince Trombetta when notice wasn’t sent to the membership.

Here is his update:


Fellow Local 47 members,

Recently the Committee forwarded a letter I sent to the Overture to this list. To summarize briefly, in the July 2004 Overture there was a picture of Nicolas Trombetta receiving a $2,000 (two thousand dollar) check for the 2004-2005 Music Fund Scholarship. The problem was, through a truly innocent mistake by the Overture staff, the notice of the scholarship’s availability was never published. The questions naturally arose, “How did VP Trombetta’s son know about it,.. and how can the scholarship be awarded when the general membership is not informed?

I thought these were indeed good questions, so I wrote the letter I shared with you previously. I turned it in the same day as a notice for an upcoming performance. When I received my Overture, the concert notice had been printed but the Letter to the Editor had not.

Rather disappointed, I decided to stop by Secretary Williams office to inquire why the letter failed to make that month’s Overture. I’ll get to her reasons in a moment, but first I want to forward to the list some things she told me in.

According to Serena:
•While the scholarship was not posted in the Overture or on the Local 47 website, it was posted on the AFM National website.
•Only 3 people have applied for the Scholarship from Local 47 in the past 11 years.
• Nicolas Trombetta applied for the scholarship in 2003, without the knowledge of his then Trustee father.
•When he found out his son got the scholarship, a proud dad wanted his son’s picture in the paper.

I have no reason to doubt the veracity of what Serena told me and I appreciate her openness to talk about the subject. Hearing what she had to say answered some questions but created others.

Concerning the listing on the national AMF website, listing the Scholarship on the national website doesn’t count as advertising the scholarship to the local membership. I took a quick trip to the National site and did in fact find a scholarships page (It’s under the young musicians heading.) with links to scholarships given by other organizations, but did not find this particular scholarship on the list. It could simply be the wrong time of year, but it wasn’t there. If you have students you should take the time to check them out, there are some real opportunities here!

Nicolas applying for the scholarship in 2003 doesn’t mean that the local can simply choose someone if the scholarship is not advertised to the entire membership. Perhaps they can, but if so, it is a bad policy. If it’s not advertised to the membership, the scholarship should not be awarded that year, or it should be delayed until the membership can be properly informed and take part. Simple propriety should make that obvious.

The same goes for only 3 members having applied in the past 11 years. Regardless of how many apply, no scholarship should be awarded if the award is not published through the LOCAL 47 paper. I hope this will encourage you teaching members to inform your students!

Speaking of not published, that brings me back to why my letter wasn’t. Serena told me there were some legal aspects that had to be checked into before they could publish the letter. What could those legal aspects be? Checking my facts perhaps? Serena told me the letter had been cleared for publication too late for the October Overture or November’s edition. As it turns out it will be published in the December Overture.

Still, these legal considerations interested me. I received a letter from Serena some time later, on October 12th. Part of the letter reads, quoting, “I was not able to get the letter into the upcoming edition because I needed to run the text of your letter past Local 47 counsel as I thought there might be some legal issues with what you wrote.” As long as what I’m saying is factual, what possible legal issues could there be? Having shown the letter to several friends and colleagues, their almost unanimous conclusion was that the letter was probably being checked to see if they could sue me for writing it, or perhaps, for sending it out. This is, of course, supposition and pure conjecture. I’ll leave you to decide that for yourselves. I certainly hope the Board didn’t spend too much of the members money “checking out” what I wrote.

Thank you to the Committee for letting me update you on the situation and airing Serena’s side of the story as far as it was given to me.

Hopefully, the union will include a rebuttal to my letter in the December Overture to tell the membership their side.

Take care all,

Charles Fernandez


Should Serena see this and feel it’s not an accurate or complete picture, we welcome her to write to us and we’ll send it out.

II) The COMMITTEE has received an e-mail from a member concerning the Grokster ruling. Their e-mail is listed below:


I hope everyone has heard about the major victory that we have achieved from a recent Supreme Court ruling against Grokster. Grokster’s argument was that they, Grokster, were not liable since their company was not doing any illegal downloading or file transfers, even if their customers “might be”! The gist of the court ruling was that since their product facilitated the illegal activity, then their product was also culpable.

In other words the Supreme Court upheld the intellectual property rights of recording musicians and video artists! Yea! They got it! This is a big victory. I know the AFM and the RIAA, an uneasy alliance, have lobbied politicians on this issue. This work set the stage for the successful presentation of the musicians’ case.

While the momentum is going, let’s let our politicians know that, while we’re on the subject, two of the biggest markets in the world, China and India, flagrantly ignore copyright laws, costing our creative artists billions of dollars.

There are more details about the Grokster ruling on the website. The sweetest words come straight from the Grokster website:

The United States Supreme Court unanimously confirmed
that using this service to trade copyrighted material is illegal.
Copying copyrighted motion picture and music files
using unauthorized peer-to-peer services is illegal and is
prosecuted by copyright owners.

There are legal services for downloading music and movies.
This service is not one of them.

Grokster hopes to have a safe and legal service available soon.


III.) Concerning the NON-MEETING Bulletin we sent out, we received this…


It is less than equal that a board of 12 decide policy for any organization
who consists of more than those 12 members. Under the circumstances, 50
people is enough. I think, however, if there were refreshments there as there
have been sometimes for special meetings, it would entice people. Many
members are coming straight from jobs, family responsibilities, etc. If there
were some interesting food and beverages, it would be helpful in getting more
members to attend. What about starting a fund for refreshments? Make the
meeting a little less dry and more interesting.


IV.)Another Local 47 member had forwarded us this question…


Is the committee aware of the union fiasco regarding
the June Rachmaninoff Competition concerts at Disney
Hall in which the entire orchestra has been “stiffed”?


Indeed we have been aware of this situation for some time and were waiting for an article from one of the affected musicians summarizing the situation, when it was announced that the union had decided to pay, 5 months after the fact, all the orchestra members wages, pension and health and welfare, without late fees for the employer who took the sponsors money and “skipped town”. Checks are apparently going out, in November.

Members of the orchestra had been waiting patiently for months, since the employer apparently took the sponsors money and left the country, but these overly-patient musicians were angered into action when the union rep on the job, published in the Overture a rather self-congratulatory article about the metro contract. Since the musicians, 60+ of them had worked for a week on the competition in June and had not been paid, some of the musicians tell us that article was the last straw for them.

Members of the Orchestra, 15-16 of them, attended a board meeting to lodge complaints and found many members of the board had not even heard about the situation.

Congratulations to the board for taking such swift action once they were made aware of the situation! Hopefully those board members will wonder and find out why it took orchestra members showing up to a meeting for them to find out about it.

In discussing this situation, another committee member forwarded the following for inclusion here:


What’s going on here? THE UNION DOES NOT SEND OUT CHECKS! Why was Local 47 paying the orchestra???

It turns out Local 47 was legally obligated to pay the orchestra – from dues that you & I have sent to the Local – because of an enormous screw-up by a loose-canon business rep who overzealously and probably illegally acted as a contractor for the orchestra! As an agent of the employer he hired players for the gig! Immediately following the concert the true employer vanished, probably back to Russia, without paying anyone, leaving Local 47, now looking like the contractor, on the hook to pay everyone. Salary, taxes, benefits – everything! What did this just cost the Local, rehearsals & performance and all benefits, maybe $30,000!? Is this business rep still employed by the Local?

And where were our titled officers when this debacle was going down? Unknown, out of town employers have always been required to put salary money in an escrow account or to take out a bond prior to the concert to cover the musicians in case the employer skips out. This concert was no secret. It was at Disney Hall, bragged up in the Overture! Which is worse, officers, who if they knew of the concert, neglected to secure a bond and neglected to manage an out of control employee – or officers who have no idea what is going on within the Local? It is very telling that as soon as the Executive Board was made aware of the situation, they wrote out a big check, paying the orchestra in full, probably hoping that doing the right thing 5 months after the fact would mask the colossal incompetence.


If any of the orchestra members would like to respond directly to the list or add more detail, please write to us. You will of course be anonymous.

That’s it for this edition.

As always, please encourage your Local 47 member colleagues to send us their e-mail addresses so they can take part!

Until next time,


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