Are you a musician who plays Broadway tours? You should know about the Theater Musicians Association because TMA is looking for you!
Why join TMA? There are many reasons. Let’s say you are about to go out on a Broadway tour. Or maybe you’re already out there. Who is representing you? To whom can you turn for information regarding your itinerary, wages, local musicians or local working conditions? The AFM is the ultimate authority, but TMA can provide you with answers to these questions. Its Web site at www.afm-tma.org contains links to tour itineraries (union and non-union), articles, news, contact and other information.
The most compelling reason, however, is that TMA is your voice with the AFM. TMA has direct contact with AFM officers and staff and sends its own delegates to the AFM conventions.
In a nutshell, TMA serves to guide the AFM and its locals in matters that pertain to theater musicians such as wages, working conditions and job security. It is an information network between musicians and the union, and among theater musicians themselves. In fact many TMA officers are local union officers as well!
At this point, TMA is preparing for the upcoming “Pamphlet B” negotiations. (Pamphlet B refers to the AFM agreement that covers touring theatre musicians.) Many musicians have issues with the Pamphlet B agreement and TMA wants to hear about them. If you have concerns with this agreement – and you should! – this is your chance to be heard.
The Theater Musicians Association is one of the five AFM Players Conferences. (Of the others, ICSOM, OCSOM and ROPA represent the interests of orchestral musicians while RMA represents recording musicians.)
According to TMA President Thomas Mendel, “TMA’s sole purpose is to promote the respective interests of theater orchestras and their member musicians, both full-time and part-time, both local and traveling; to enhance communications among these theater orchestras and their locals; to exchange information and address problems of mutual concern, and to pursue any other activities conducive to the general welfare of its members in accordance with the bylaws of the AFM.”
TMA also has close ties with the Local 802 Broadway Theatre Committee. Several Theatre Committee chairs, myself included, have become Broadway Director for TMA, a liaison position that bolsters communication and solidarity between the two groups. It is a widely held belief that, theatrically speaking, what happens on Broadway affects what happens across the country and even internationally. So communication between the two is essential. While there are many differences between the Broadway agreement and Pamphlet B, there are also many similar areas of interest.
TMA has chapters in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Northern California, Southern California, Phoenix and St. Louis, and has Members-at-Large representatives for musicians who live in an area without a chapter.
Walter Usiatynski is chair of the Broadway Theatre Committee and serves on the TMA Executive Board as Broadway Director.