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December 12, 2008


In response to the postings by downbeat, obviously my clarification did not clarify as the second posting containing more erroneous assumptions. Yes, the many people who worked under the AFM Motion Picture Agreement in Los Angeles and Chicago for Batman will receive all wages, benefits, and protections, paid or guaranteed pursuant to that agreement.

The AFM Agreements are available online. Reading those sections with regards to partial scoring and signatory obligations for the Motion Picture and TV Agreements should be a core component prior to making specific claims about Batman or any other movie involving AFM members working pursuant to our union's agreements with Warner Brothers or other signatory companies. If you wish to make a posting which is not anonymous under the Data vs Mantra entry, I would be happy to try to respond as my time allows.

Phil, are you saying that the guys who did overdubs in LA for this year's Batman film are getting full AFM pay and benefits plus any future special payments (reuse/new use) on these overdub sessions, despite the fact that the bulk of the recording with the orchestra was done in London?

I'm also interested in the provision that if a film is filmed elsewhere, an AFM signatory can use non-AFM musicians for these films. Would the same be true if a film was filmed in Seattle?

Thanks for the clarification - very interesting.

Batman was filmed by a signatory (Warner Bros) in both the US and Great Britain. As the AFM Agreement provides,musicians could be hired by Warner Brothers in both countries. There were AFM Contracts filed for musical work done in both Chicago and Los Angeles.

AFM Film scoring has been a growth activity for the Union for all of the 21st Century. To view the actual data base for AFM Motion Picture and TV activity, go to: http://www.fmsmf.org/producerresources/cntitles.csv or


I hear a lot of name calling and accusations, but few solutions being offered to the exodus of recording sessions away from AFM to Seattle, London and Eastern Europe. Add to that the growing number of internet recording sessions being done and the one-on-one recordings individual musicians are doing at home with the results sent via internet to a composer or producer. Even those leading the RMA have no problems recording buyout in London these days - what message does THAT send to the union membership? And there's that pesky matter of AFM members openly (even credited in the film credits!) recording buyout right in LA for the overdubs for the latest blockbuster Batman movie. What a whopping double standard. Threaten the chumps and the uninformed with $50,000 fines for recording non-union in Seattle, but let top AFM orchestrators and RMA players get away with very public non-union buyouts in LA and London.

How about some real ideas about how to recapture all this lost non-union work? With the economic problems accelerating, companies will be looking doubly hard for cheaper recording alternatives than AFM, and plenty exist just an internet connection away.

The 150 or so a-list RMA recording musicians in LA are dwarfed by the thousands of musicians who are losing work to non-AFM alternatives as evidenced by the success of Seattle, Prague, Budapest and London. Threaten people with $50,000 fines or try and bully the studios into accepting residual clauses that are not competitive with worldwide recording business standards and all you'll get is more financial core recording orchestras (and non-union orchestras in right-to-work states) and dark dates, and once that business model reaches critical mass, we can kiss the AFM goodbye for everyone but symphony guys.

Enough with the politics. Let's see some specific solutions proposed here and start making progress. If the RMA faction is to lead, fine! Let's see some specific proposals that are competitive instead of the endless complaining about what's wrong with Tom Lee. And if the proposals are not competitive to world recording business standards, what leverage will be applied to the studios to get them to swallow these proposals vs. outsourcing to the growing number of non-AFM alternatives?

Readers might gain further insights into the present state of affairs between between RMA and AFM - particularly as it pertains to Nashville and Los Angeles - from my earlier AFM Observer posting in the thread "What went Wrong?"(November).

It appears that neither Harold nor Billy extended any congratulations to Dave or Craig. It’s as if they felt entitled to their positions for as long as they wanted. That's very revealing of their true character. And no congrats from Tom either. It's been 5 days.

This behavior is just one example of what the professional musicians in Nashville have been putting up with for years. Billy and Harold are both die hard supporters of Tom Lee, regardless of their obligation to represent the membership. The key was to deny who the real Nashville membership is via Tom Lee’s usual spin.
Maybe now the myth of the so called “few dissenters” will finally be put to rest.
This is a majority, not a minority.

Same thing in LA: The election there proves once and for all that Fernandez and company do not represent that majority either, contrary to what Tom has been telling everyone. They lost 2 to1. So now, votes have been cast by the voters who have a real stake, and the message is loud and clear. Non-voters clearly do not care and the spin about what those non-voters want or don't want stops here and now.

Will this help the AFM wake up to the truth out here in the recording communities? Can we finally stop the constant punishment and resentment?

It's clear now in Nashville, and has been clear for some time in LA, that the RMA is far more efficient and motivated in terms of organizing and motivating musicians than the rest of the AFM. Are we now looking at a "full-time musicians vs. part-time musicians" class warfare situation within the AFM?

I wonder if Tom is a bit upset. He can't conveniently ignore Nashville anymore. This makes it harder for him to bullshit everyone as to his understanding of the real workplace. He'll probably ignore Pomeroy's existence for awhile. It's going to be difficult to spin this one. Not only did Pomeroy win by a huge number of votes he also has an wide ranging amount of respect from the Nashville business community, both music and otherwise. Congrat's have been pouring in from all over the country, but not from Harold or Tom.

I want to congratulate Dave Pomeroy and Craig Krampf and let them know I think it is cool they defeated the bad guys.

I may never return to the AFM as long as Tom, Sam are not indicted and a removed from office along with the criminals at AFM Local 12 who are still violation RICCO statues.

It takes decades to clean up unions from officers on the take and I had enough-Lee who forced Wally Malone to NOT REPORT on Detials that supported my challgnes and ignored Ken Shirks Report details on my own elections in AFM Local 12 might figth the new Nashville victory but Lee & Sams days are numbered let us hope they go into retirement and fade away.

Make room for a new generation and new officers for the AFM.

I wish the real Union guys in the AFM Luck and my help if I am ever needed.

I doubt I will ever be a member of an employee of the AFM ever again but I still want to see a day when there a AFM living up to it's mission statement.

Michael Troy Moore

It's official; Pomeroy and Krampf defeat Bradley and Linneman for Local 257 President and Secretary-Treasurer respectively. The re-count finished last Friday, December 12, 2008, and STILL no call from Tom Lee congratulating them on the victory. Apparently Tom Lee has time and money to waste on three letters (and counting) trashing FarePlay, but he does not have five minutes to pick up the phone and congratulate the new officers for the fourth biggest Local in the United States. Tom, where's the class?

It is important to take notice that there was also a presidential election of note in Los Angeles as well as in Nashville.

The COMMITTEE's representatives running for the Local 47 Executive Board were resoundingly defeated!

So the fit has hit the sham. Tom Lee take notice; the writing is on the wall. With one fell swoop, Nashville has shown that the nation’s recording centers aren’t going to keep taking the kind of malignant bullying and buffoonery that has been the hallmark of the AFM since the dawn of the present administration. Future delegates to the AFM should also clearly understand that it’s unacceptable for any of the nation’s major working centers to be unrepresented on the IEB. Los Angles Local 47, the largest AFM Local and busiest recording center, remains completely absent! One might also easily conclude that Nashville hadn’t had such a representative in years, too, judging by the inept and out-of-touch representatives they just threw out. Meanwhile, the AFM sees the members from these Locals merely as a vault from which to draw money, until such time as they can be destroyed completely. Nashville has stood up and loudly declared that enough is enough! And they showed that the union can indeed be changed, despite a carefully contrived political structure that attempts to preclude it. If you have any doubts about this sentiment, just attend an AFM Convention.

To the AFM: you cannot subject full-time working musicians to continued maligning, assaults on the contracts under which they depend for their livelihoods, devising new ways to confiscate increasing portions of their earnings, all while telling the rest of the membership what a burden the ‘greedy’ working musicians are to them. Without the full-time working musician, be it those involved in recording or symphony work, there will be no AFM as we know it. Perhaps Mr. Lee would be more comfortable representing a union of hobbyists, but this will not pay the bills. You simply cannot sustain union life by attacking those who support you, while demanding ever more from them and debasing their contracts. This is especially true if you preside over a period where AFM membership has been in radical decline, such as has been accelerating under Mr. Lee’s tenure. Printing a bilingual (English/French!?) ‘International Musician’ will do nothing to build your membership. And writing countless stupid, disingenuous letters to the very musicians you are attacking, Mr. Lee, will also do nothing to bring them ‘on board’.

Nashville has taken the boldest step imaginable. Kudos to them! This is just the beginning.

Robert writes: "Interesting, and thanks for the info. Were they defeated as a result of local dissatisfaction with their work on the IEB, or over local issues?"

In 1982, the barely 2 year-old MEMBERS Party swept Max East's (we dubbed Herman Max West) entire 22-person slate from office despite the all-mail ballot machinery weighted heavily in favor of out-of-town and non-working members. Just as today, the IEB wasn't much of an issue in the minds of most of 802's voters. The issues were local - cronyism, bad contracts, no rank & file input, etc.

The International RMA came into being in Dec. 1982 and early 1983, the same time period as the NY and LA elections. A number of musicians were involved in both endeavors.

"In 1982, both Max Arons (802) and Max Herman (47) were defeated in their locals while sitting as IEB members. Incredibly, both ran for reelection to the IEB in 1983, and both were defeated."

Interesting, and thanks for the info. Were they defeated as a result of local dissatisfaction with their work on the IEB, or over local issues?

Robert wrote: "I can't recall a time when a sitting member of the IEB was defeated in a bid for re-election as a local officer, much less two - and from the same local, yet."

It has happened: In 1982, both Max Arons (802) and Max Herman (47) were defeated in their locals while sitting as IEB members. Incredibly, both ran for reelection to the IEB in 1983, and both were defeated.

As I posted elsewhere on this blog:

Now that the COMMITTEE'S politics has been repudiated in Nashville and LA, perhaps R. Blanc, C. Fernandez et al should move on to Local 300 where the local president/bandleader/contractor is only too happy to publish their drivel.

In my part of the world they say you reap what you sow.The sad thing is that Harold and Billy have blindly supported Tom in everything that he has done despite voices of reason from the Nashville music community. Not once did they fight for us despite years of pleading. Nashville is a recording town and a live town. Dave Pomeroy has worked for years helping WORKING musicians. in fact many of the initiatives passed by local 257 were Dave's (and associates ) ideas, including the 1 hour demo overdub scale and the songwriter club scale. In fact many ideas were brought to Harold and Billy but they were more concerned with attacking the evil LA film musicians, or going to Miami and chastizing the few recording musicians that kept work under AFM contract.
For years Harold and Billy have told AFM members across the country. that Dave pomeroy and his friends were nothing more than a "fringe" element, in lockstep with LA,. not at all a representative of Nashville Musicians. WHOOPS!
Congrats Dave and Craig!

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