More than a hundred recording musicians packed the 802 Club Room on May 11 in an historic face-to-face meeting with the International Executive Board of the AFM.
The meeting was called by Local 802 in response to recent policy modifications taken by the IEB concerning musicians working under the national electronic-media contracts, and to ensure that no further action be taken without the input of 802 members.
Of particular concern was any future discussions involving changes in recording agreements, changes in eligibility requirements for ratification of these agreements, and any potential change in recording dues or assessments. (See last month’s president’s report.)
“We are not here to point fingers or lay blame,” said 802 President David Lennon. “We’re all in this together; we have a vested interest in making sure the AFM is strong. In making decisions that will affect all of us, however, it is critical that you hear from all of us – including New York’s recording musicians.”
“We have more in common than we have differences. We are facing a common enemy: the multi-national recording corporations,” said 802’s Recording Vice President Bill Dennison.
“We want to work together not only to defend the contracts that you work under, but to find ways to increase that work and deal with the organizing challenges that lie ahead, challenges that we will never successfully address unless we are all on the same page,” said Lennon.
“We’re one union. We’re in a global marketplace that’s changing. We have to address how we can win back and capture some of the work that’s fled to Seattle, London and Prague. We can’t compete in a race to the bottom, but we can recognize that things are different and we want this business to be here for ourselves and younger musicians who have not yet entered our ranks,” said Recording Supervisor Jay Schaffner.
“We recognize that recording musicians in the major locals that do this work have diverse interests. And your job is to find consenses amidst that diversity. We don’t envy your task. We want to give you as much information as you need to make the tough decisions ahead. We hope that this meeting has helped set you on that path,” said Lennon.
A full report will appear in next month’s Allegro.