On Dec. 11 and 14, about 40 musicians who do work in the recording field met with union staff to discuss the problem of nonunion dates. The meetings generated excellent discussions about how big labels like Zomba Music Group, which owns the Jive and Silvertone labels, undercut area standards by not paying pension, health, reuse or special payments.
The meetings were the culmination of the first phase of a campaign Local 802 launched in October to help make recording musicians aware of benefits denied them by nonunion labels. (See the President’s Report in the October Allegro, as well as stories in the November, December and January issues.) The meetings were preceded by hundreds of calls to recording musicians, as well as spot checks of major studios. The union also held two meetings with some of the city’s busiest contractors in October, to enlist their support in this campaign.
Now Local 802 is poised to begin phase two. Eight representatives and organizers from the Recording and New Organizing departments will be systematically monitoring studios for all new recording projects, and scanning media reports about newly-released recordings that signatories may not have filed properly. If a new project is done under union contract, musicians are entitled to proper scale wages and benefits, including special payments. If it’s a nonunion project, Local 802 is set to make it legit.
“We believe there are potentially millions of dollars in unreported wages and benefits due to musicians who have done work for the major unionized labels,” said Jay Schaffner, Supervisor of the Recording Department. “Through a stepped-up enforcement mechanism, Local 802 expects to collect many more dollars for these musicians.”
Along with this phase of the campaign, the union will develop educational materials to pass out to both members and nonmembers about the benefits of doing work under union agreements, including special payments, pension, re-use and more. Local 802 is urging recording musicians and contractors to pre-report all of their dates on the 802 hotline, at (212) 245-4802, ext. 260.