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American Federation of Musicians

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Limezone, Oct 24, 2002.

  1. I've been approched by a buddy of mine suggesting that I join the Union, I've looked over the benefits and it seems like a good deal.

    Are any of you guys members? Do you have trouble booking gigs for union wages? Have you lost any gigs because of it.

    I'm leaning in that direction, but I'd thought I'd ask you guys first.

  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    The Union can seem more like a leech than a help often times, but you can take advantages of some insurance and pension things. I've never really seen the Union get anyone a gig, aside from the occassional recommendation from the member listing. Remember, that once you're in and a conscientious member, you're expected to pay dues on every music dollar that you make. There are certain types of work that you'll have to be in the Union for -- show work, symphony, etc.

    For that last reason I might be in the Union myself, but I don't seek that type of work and so am not. Aside from all of that, this is the least subjective answer I can give, being adamantly against unions and all...
  3. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Nowadays, the AF of M tiger has rubber teeth. There was a time when club owners had to decide to use union or non-union musicians. If an owner went non-union, he would never again be able to get a high level union band in the house. With that power, the AFM could enforce pay scales. No owner got forced out of business, and there was work everywhere, and I mean everywhere, especially for jazz players.
    The 60's revolution killed all that.
    The AFM is powerless, there's maybe one 20th the number of jobs, and pay scales are a farce.

    And please - If you're going to give me a f___ing lecture about the effect on music of the 60's and thereafter, be prepared to show me that you were working both before and after. I was.

    A little testy today, Don? Yes.
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Just 60.
  5. Don, I was there too and I totally agree with you.
  6. Thanks Ed,

    That's exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for.

    I am interested in taking advantage of the insurance and pension benefits. As well as exploring the MPTF, that is the main reason my partner (saxaphonist, Paul Bobitz) is encouraging me to join.

    Don, maybe you should lay off the caffine for a day or two.
  7. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    there is also a new contract available for casual gigs that you can use to pay yourself and bandmembers pension. call the local, they should know and for some reason they don't, call the Federation in new york - (800) 762-3444....before you had to use a locally negotiated contract, national contract or you had to be incorporated. now you just use the fill in the blank contract. if you want to learn about how the pension works, PM me.

    on another note....

    the union has really helped in the latin recording field. in san antonio, the Federation (after a long campaign) had worked with US legislators to hold a field hearing in regard to what three of the big five record labels were doing to the studio musicians that recorded on albums. the labels were only paying on a buy out basis per tune (sometimes as little as $50 per tune, that's it).

    what happened is a few congressmembers scared the lousy ass labels in signing the sound recording labor agreement. now the big five latin record labels pay union wages (before you didn't get pension, h & w, special payments for five years and more money for new use).

    two well know studio musicians testified -

    Ed Calle and Oscar Cartaya (if you need to see who they have recorded for, just go to www.allmusic.com and enter the names)

    others were locals from san antonio and labor leaders from through out the country.

    does this look like the union is powerless? nope

    does the union work for me?- yup!

    can it work for you? - yup, but you should get edumacated about it first! it took me awhile.

    it's a great tool in my toolbox. ;)

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