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February 03, 2009


The point here, whether or not a court should decide that the dues are unlawful, is that the “financial package” passed at the 2007 convention was the most punitive by-law ever imposed on AFM members. Spite and resentment are at the very root of this action. A “take their money by force and kick them” approach.

The results and laborious efforts of the financial committee was not only completely ignored, it was entirely invisible to the point that most of the delegates were not even aware that the committee ever met or that conclusions existed. The committee recommended an entirely different shared approach.

So instead, not only were federation dues permanently raised by .25% on most electronic media, and a whopping .85% on MP film, the 2% SPF and SMF taxes were voted in by all the people who are not subject to it, nor do they have a stake in that line of work.

It was punitive, calculated, and manipulated through the system with no input from the people who do the work. It is beyond imagination that the AFM delegates not only saw this as a viable solution, but most importantly that they would be so naive as to think that there would not be serious implications and repercussions to such an ill advised plan.

Now they reap what they sew: unrest, division, anger, upset, and financial consequences to all. Who pushed for this by-law? Tom and his Canadian friends, or “those who do not pay”.

Smart move Tom, very clever indeed.
And don’t forget to blame the RMA, which is so much more convenient than blaming yourself.

Until the Federation allows the working recording musicians to have input and some control of their business (of recording) more and more recording musicians will resort to civil disobedience. Recording musicians paid the last assessment on their special payments with the understanding that it would be a new era of cooperation between the AFof M and recording musicians. Unfortunately that was not the case. Instead Lee, Shaffner, Folio and the followers on the IEB began making promulgated , one off agreements that worked against the collective bargaining contracts that were in place. Anytime someone from the RMA raised a question about the rationality of these weak agreements , they were immediately labeled a troublemaker by Lee and his cronies.
In fact most of Lee's stump speeches at the last convention were based around attacking the "fortunate" recording musicians and their prohibitive contracts. Promises about new recording work in small towns across America , resonated with the delegates at the convention, as Lee spoke of getting rid of new use and back end. One can only imagine the discord that was struck with the musicians that had sacrificed all and moved to the towns that actually had the recording infrastructure. ( Ironically guys like Harold Bradley, who built one of the first recording studios, over forty years ago, missed the irony in Lee's fantasy vision of utopia)
What were recording musicians to do. Instead of the Federation reaching out to the working recording musicians and soliciting and accepting their input and help in making the decisions that impacted Recording Musicians livelihoods , Lee and his band of know it all's proceeded do as they pleased in regard to creating irresponsible agreements.Why wouldn't they want participation from the workers that understand the landscape? Instead they have marginalized them from the process.
Is it any wonder that recording musicians are working to protect themselves from their own union.
The sad irony of all of this is that Lee, Folio and the IEB know how simple it would be to fix this dysfunction. Most recording musicians I know, would support this union and gladly pay the Federation more money ,if they knew that they would have some control of their own business.
Conversely I'm not surprised the Recording Musicians don't want to give money to a Federation that attacks it's own successful workers.

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