The Future Looks Brighter

AFM President Ray Hair honored at RMA-NY open meeting

Volume CX, No. 11November, 2010

From left: Lanny Paykin, Juliet Haffner, Roger Blanc, Ray Hair, Tino Gagliardi, Phil Ayling and John O’Connor. Photo: Walter Karling

AFM President Ray Hair was given a very enthusiastic welcome on Sept. 29 at an open house presented by the New York chapter of the Recording Musicians Association.

President Hair spoke about his vision for the AFM and its national recording agreements.

In his introductory remarks, RMA-NY President Roger Blanc said, “A lot of changes have taken place in our union over the past year or so. Elections have occurred in three of our largest locals: New York, Nashville and Los Angeles, resulting in a significant turnover at the executive level.”

Blanc added, “Most recently a new AFM administration was elected at the convention in Las Vegas with tonight’s guest of honor, Ray Hair, as its president. These changes bring with them much promise, and it will be all of our responsibilities to help this new leadership achieve its potential.”

Roger described President Hair’s background as a drummer who has played all over the industry, including recording, club dates and tours. Hair taught drums at the University of North Texas (Denton) from 1975 to 1983. He has served on the AFM’s International Executive Board since 1989 and was president of Local 72-147 (Dallas-Ft. Worth) from 1992 to 2010. From Denton, Texas to the AFM offices at 1501 Broadway, Hair has spent decades in the music business both as a player and union official.

Hair spoke about the union and his role as president, quoting from a speech that he made in Detroit on Labor Day to the musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra: “You don’t pay me to run, you pay me to fight.” The speech continues, “I don’t know about you, but I have a real hard time looking at folks on the other side of the table who couldn’t do what we do in a million years – who make way more money than we do, who ask us to take the bread off our table and give it to them.”

(Hair’s speech can be found on YouTube.)

Hair ran on a platform that emphasized unity, specifically one that pledged to unite the small and large locals.

In his campaign, Hair stressed the inclusion of input from all the player conferences, including RMA.

As Hair stated in his AFM convention acceptance speech, “I will ask you to join in the work of reconciling the disparate interests of this union the only way it has ever been done – by dovetailing common interests, member by member, local by local, conference by conference, to rebuild the unity of purpose that gave us our union to begin with.”

Hair was proud that the October issue of the International Musician highlighted all five player conferences, and he announced that one will be featured in each future issue.

RMA-NY Secretary Juliet Haffner said, “This guy gets it; he gets that there are two sides, labor and management, and we better have a guy like Ray because the employers have their lawyers, accountants and business people all showing up to the table.”

Haffner added, “Strong union leadership is crucial because musicians are not in a position to negotiate for themselves; all we have are these agreements and they are minimum scales, and we need to protect the hard won economic gains that have been negotiated through the years.”

RMA-International President Phil Ayling stated that we need to keep ahead of the changing technologies and plan future re-use formulas for them.

Local 802 President Tino Gagliardi said, “It’s a new day both at the Federation and Local 802. A new day of cooperation and collaboration with the RMA-NY to offer all members of the recording community an opportunity for the sharing of information and input in all matters concerning the recording industry.”

There was a discussion among the panelists about the national recording agreements, focusing on their diversity and interdependence.

Phil Ayling and Tino Gagliardi addressed the issue of the AFM’s finances and possible solutions involving the recording community.

This was followed by a question and answer period with the audience and refreshments.

RMA-NY thanks all the participants and looks forward to a productive working relationship with AFM President Ray Hair.

Submitted by Roger Blanc and Juliet Haffner on behalf of RMA-NY (