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March 30, 2009

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I guess I hit a nerve here or I did not do a very good job of explaining my position, (or both). The "non-union" rehab job at Local 47 is not germane to the RMA vs AFM debate in my opinion. It is just a concern troll looking to drive the bloggers into his/her diatribe. It is similar to union members and union officers buying a non-UAW made car. Not an unusual occurrence.

I suspect most of the bloggers here do not give rats ass about what kind of car you drive or whether or not a construction crew is union.

BTW, Having union officers in an ICSOM orchestra is a very good thing.

the ISCOM orchestra parking lot in my town is mostly filled with scab non-UAW foreign cars. Some orchestra musicians are actually agents of the union.

There is a difference between "scab" and "non-union." "Scab" refers specifically (at least according to Wikipedia) to someone who crosses a picket line to break a strike. And most unions make a distinction between "non-union" and placing an establishment on their "Do Not Patronize" list. The distinction is probably based on whether or not the establishment is perceived as anti-union.

But I'm glad that "some orchestra musicians are actually agents of the union" (although I assume you mean "officers" and not "agents.") Why is that a bad thing? Because some of them drive Japanese cars? Japanese automakers are on no union's "Do Not Patronize" list, and in fact have avoided unionization in the US by paying salaries and benefits in the range of what the UAW bargains for.

The AFM's policy in this regard, from the bylaws, is:

As a matter of policy, the AFM shall, whenever possible, purchase only union made supplies and services and shall patronize establishments using only union musicians. The AFM strongly urges all members, Locals, and Conferences to adhere to this same policy.

I do not support using non-union workers for a major rehab of a union building. Having said that, the ISCOM orchestra parking lot in my town is mostly filled with scab non-UAW foreign cars. Some orchestra musicians are actually agents of the union.

Take a look at your union officers' cars including the board members. Apples and apples.

I view the 47 scab rehab threads as opportunism by the concern trolls and straw persons. An important issue for future reference but should be placed in the "afm has a long was to go as trade unionists" file.

Monk

Vince knew what he did was anti-union, so he had the richardson group change their website to cover it up. It wasn't even clear the board knew it was a scab company, but Trombetta did, so then the question comes up, did he purposefully hide that fact from the board as well, or did he figure no one would be looking?...Make excuses for your buds now, Robert

Hardly a "bud"; I'm not sure I've ever even met the gentleman in question (and I trust that he will forgive me if I have forgotten that I have).

I think I've made my beliefs on the subject of unions' obligations to union workers clear. Unions should use union workers and suppliers who hire union workers whenever possible. If Vince violated this principle (and there's not another side to the story), then he shoudn't have.

But Vince is president of a union, and accountable to his members. I'm not one of them. If you are, then feel free to continue your crusade.

From downbeat:

But since you're chiming in here, do YOU support Local 47's decision to spend over $300,000 on scab, non-union labor? Or are you going to do a "dizzy" and attack me personally rather than actually take a position on an issue?

Since I don't live in 47's jurisdiction, since downbeat and one or two others equate 47 with the RMA and worse, since this seems to be downbeat's latest "hook," I consider it a loaded question and not worthy of an answer here.

802fiddler,

The thread evolved into another subject when eeL F moT posted that he was tired of "RMA bashing" and seemed to yearn for another subject here since the Phoenix one wasn't getting any "play" as he said it. Since the thread has generated many posts involving several posters, it probably should have its own thread.

But since you're chiming in here, do YOU support Local 47's decision to spend over $300,000 on scab, non-union labor? Or are you going to do a "dizzy" and attack me personally rather than actually take a position on an issue?

From downbeat:

Exactly my point, Robert. We're not talking about recording musicians or their dispute with the AFM in this particular thread, it's about Local 47's decision to spend $300,000+ on scab, non-union labor.

The title of this particular thread is "Another Phoenix Situation." Perhaps he needs new reading glasses.

Robert,

Check it out yourself, THE RICHARDSON GROUP.

When the whole issue started, the RICHARDSON GROUP's website proudly proclaimed that they were a non-union construction company, and Local 47 was an up front and center name (w/Logo) on their projects page. When a member questioned them about it, they found the next day that the LOCAL 4y7 mention was gone and so was the word non-union.

Vince knew what he did was anti-union, so he had the richardson group change their website to cover it up. It wasn't even clear the board knew it was a scab company, but Trombetta did, so then the question comes up, did he purposefully hide that fact from the board as well, or did he figure no one would be looking?

Make excuses for your buds now, Robert

Exactly my point, Robert. We're not talking about recording musicians or their dispute with the AFM in this particular thread, it's about Local 47's decision to spend $300,000+ on scab, non-union labor. Recording musicians are only a small part of Local 47, and that's not relevant to this thread. Others tried to spin the thread into a recording musicians/RMA angle, but not me. My point is to focus on Local 47's action and discuss whether it is a good thing or a bad thing, was it appropriate or not, etc.

Obviously, I feel that decision represented very poor judgment and sends a very bad message to the industry and the community, but I respect the right of others to believe that the AFM's largest local spending $300,000 on scab labor is OK. But I have yet to hear anyone here defend that decision - it's been minimized, attempts have been made to deflect the discussion to Tom Lee shopping at Walmart, etc, but nobody has actually come out and defended Local 47's decision.

This isn't a "straw man", it's an actual, factual issue that involves a lot of money, cuts to the heart of union loyalty and trade unionism, and is worthy of discussion. If you feel it's not appropriate for your blog, then say so. But trying to minimize it as a "straw man" is, itself, a technique to discredit and minimize. And irrelevant to the current subject?

I guess it depends on what the "current subject" is. Is what Local 47 did or didn't do relevant to the dispute between recording musicians and the AFM? Not unless you know that the decision to use a non-union construction company (and remember I still have only your assertion that happened) was made by those musicians you are so quick to describe as "greedy recording musicians." If you know that, say so. Otherwise you have introduced a topic that is no more relevant than is the Iraq war.

Yes, I was trying to "discredit and minimize" your argument. That's because I thought it was a bad argument. If you don't like that, then don't write comments on my blog, or get your own. I certainly don't intend to get into the censorship business by deleting comments.

DOWNBEAT IS SO FULL OF SHIT THAT IT'S ASTOUNDING. AND NOTHING IS EVER ABOUT HIS OWN HYPOCRISY; JUST EXCUSES AND 'JUSTIFICATIONS' FOR HIS OWN SELF-OBSESSED, SELF-ABSORBED VIEW OF THE WORLD.

Dizzy, I like many, many other AFM members, took some cash dates to make ends meet because the companies involved refused to work under current AFM recording contracts. If you REALLY want to open up Pandora's box on this matter, better start checking all the "cash" dates (Seattle, London, etc) done by RMA leadership and others.

How curious that you're ready to condemn people for taking some cash dates but are completely unwilling to speak out against Local 47 doing institutionlized union busting of a far greater dollar amount - $300,000+ - by refusing to hire a union company and instead hiring scab, non-union labor.


Robert,

This isn't a "straw man", it's an actual, factual issue that involves a lot of money, cuts to the heart of union loyalty and trade unionism, and is worthy of discussion. If you feel it's not appropriate for your blog, then say so. But trying to minimize it as a "straw man" is, itself, a technique to discredit and minimize. And irrelevant to the current subject? Unions live or die by the solidarity and loyalty of their members and the respect the union receives from others in the industry. Local 47's choice of scab labor sends a message loud and clear to all involved: hiring scab, non-union is OK if you can save a few bucks. And that's hardly a message that's irrelevant, given the millions of dollars spent annually on recording for film, TV and videogames. Local 47 has utterly lost the moral high ground to insist that employers hire union musicians when the LOCAL ITSELF demonstrates, through its own actions, that it's fine to hire scab, non-union labor to save money.

I, like many others, don't use my real name here for many reasons. In fact, there are far more posters here using aliases who criticize Tom Lee & Co. than criticize RMA & Co. You could easily make a rule here that everyone has to disclose their real name, but you allow aliases and the free flow of information without regard to retribution that this permits.

Your tepid response to this situation says it all. While the dollar amounts involved are considerable, the principal of the matter is just as important. As far as I'm concerned, Local 47 has now endorsed and fully justified the notion that hiring non-union is OK as long as you can save some money. And that's exactly the WORST message they could be sending to the community and the industry, especially now, in my opinion.

And that's what opinions are for - to share and discuss in forums like this without fear of retribution from those few who control who gets hired and who doesn't, at least in LA.

AND DON'T FORGET THAT DOWNBEAT HIMSELF PROUDLY ADMITTED TO HAVING TAKEN PART IN SCAB RECORDING DATES. SOME NERVE TO PRETEND HE CARES ABOUT UNIONISM, OTHER THAN TO WANT TO BUST THE LIVELIHOODS OF THOSE WHO DO.

several days now and not a single of the so-called trade unionists on this board dare criticize the AFM's largest local deliberately choosing a scab, non-union construction company for a major construction job over $300,000. I guess hiring non-union is perfectly fine by the folks here...? … Even more outrageous when that decision is made by a union ITSELF to hire non-union!

I will admit to becoming very tired of Downbeat’s rather primitive and repetitive debating tactics. This one is called “the straw man.” Find an issue, regardless how irrelevant to the current subject, that might – if spun with sufficient energy and disregard for fairness – reflect badly on those who hold different views. And then proceed to beat the shit out of it.

I don’t like that tactic. I don’t like it when it’s used against Tom Lee (and I have gone o record on this blog to that effect). And I don’t like it when it’s used to trash a community of AFM members who are trying to protect their livelihoods.

Without having asked 47 why a non-union construction firm was hired (and I have only your and the COMMITTEE’S word for that, neither of whom I regard as very trustworthy), I don’t feel informed enough to criticize. And, given all the weird stuff that unions do as employers and vendors, I don’t care to enlist in a crusade on this particular issue without hearing a fuller account. I’ve got real work to do as a union officer. And, as an activist, I’d rather spend my time trying to get the AFM to behave better towards its members.

Unions sometimes do things they shouldn't do. I will recount an anecdote from during my time as ICSOM chair, though. The AFM had (perhaps still does) a CBA with OPEIU, the union that represents office works. One of the most incredible conversations I ever had as ICSOM chair was with a senior AFM staffer who told me that the president at the time had informed staff that, in the event that OPIEU went on strike, AFM staff would be expected to cross their picket line. I was shocked, but not really surprised, given what I knew about unions in general, and the AFM in particular, as employers.

So part of the reason that I refuse to join your crusade over this issue (aside, of course, from my complete distrust of your motives for raising the issue at all) is that, of the things I’ve seen the AFM and its Locals do, or contemplate doing, this one seems like pretty small beer to me.

But I guess I should go on the record and say that unions should use union labor and union suppliers whenever possible. Sadly, they don’t always do so. When they don’t, they should be held accountable for not having done so.

I guess it demonstrates, once again, the truly mercenary attitude (or incredible fear) of some. If it doesn't affect your wallet, it doesn't matter, eh? Demonstrates another point I made some time ago here - that certain people masquerade as trade unionists to enrich their own wallets at the expense of others.

As I’ve pointed out before, an odd statement coming from someone who is himself masquerading as someone other than himself/herself.

I must say, even I'm surprised...

Several days now and not a single of the so-called trade unionists on this board dare criticize the AFM's largest local deliberately choosing a scab, non-union construction company for a major construction job over $300,000. I guess hiring non-union is perfectly fine by the folks here...? Simon James in Seattle should celebrate, because you've just endorsed his entire business model - non-union is cheaper, so hire non-union! Even more outrageous when that decision is made by a union ITSELF to hire non-union!

I guess it demonstrates, once again, the truly mercenary attitude (or incredible fear) of some. If it doesn't affect your wallet, it doesn't matter, eh? Demonstrates another point I made some time ago here - that certain people masquerade as trade unionists to enrich their own wallets at the expense of others. A sad commentary indeed on unionism, and more specifically, Local 47 and the AFM.

To pay $300,00 for non-union services would suggest that Local 47 is not, at its core, committed to union-ism. If not to union-ism what exactly are Local 47's officers committed to? Or will that remain a rhetorical question?

Yes, those are my words, and I stand by them. They apply to some, but certainly not all recording musicians.

Look, Dizzy, you can try and distract everyone all day long with personal issues, but that won't change the fact that Local 47 decided to use pay SCAB LABOR over $300,000 to refurbish the union facilities. The message that sends is outrageous.

How about addressing Local 47's $300,000 scab labor decision, Dizzy? Or is the fact that they did such an outrageous thing too much for you to deal with? Or maybe you support their decision? Your silence would tend to indicate that.

THESE WORDS FROM DOWNBEAT, WHO THINKS I ATTACK PEOPLE:

"greedy recording musicians who want all the work for themselves and don't care how many other musicians lose work in order to keep "their work" and "their contracts" and "their deals". They are selfish, greedy, and immoral"

ALL I HAVE EVER DONE IS TO QUOTE HIS OWN WORDS, JUST AS WITNESS HERE.
AND 'UNION' BUILDING CONTRACTORS. HUH?

Geez - and I thought this thread was about the reprehensible situation in the Phoenix Symphony, whose conductor causes problems wherever he goes.......

eeL F. moT,

Try finding out how many local's pay their officers a living wage. There are no more than a handful that do, since more locals don't generate enough work to warrant a full time salary for their officers. Therefore, there are only a hand full who have bylaws against their officers working. Try not being such an intellectual fraud, and do your homework, would you? It's like shooting fish in a barrel.

Sorry eeL F. moT, I'm not Chuck. Whoever that is.

I see Dizzy, once again, would rather attack people personally than debate the issue. We are talking about Local 47's decision to choose a non-union, scab construction company for union refurbs to the tune of over $300,000. What do you have to say about that, Dizzy? Do you agree with Local 47's decision to user non-union scab labor? You can hardly compare a few cash dates to this kind of massive scab spending...

A FINE ONE TO TALK. BETWEEN HIS PRIDE IN DOING CASH DATES AND INCESSANT BLATHER DOWNBEAT HAS UNDERMINED EVERYTHING UNIONSISM STANDS FOR!

eeL F. moT, let's not try and dilute the issue at hand - there's no comparing Local 47's deliberate choice to spend $300,000 with a scab non-union construction company with Tom Lee shopping at Wal-Mart for a pair of socks or whatever, or staying at a hotel where less than 100% of the employees are unionized. The differences in scale there are obvious.


Let's stay on topic here... This is not about the RMA, so please, let's not make it about the RMA! eeL F moT wanted a non-RMA topic, so we've got one.

Can ANYONE here defend Local 47's choice to hire and manage SCAB LABOR to the tune of over $300,000 to do renovation work on Local 47's facilities? And by the way, who exposed this? The COMMITTEE. That's right. If we had waited to read about this in the Local 47 paper (Overture), I doubt we'd see any coverage of the fact that Local 47 hired non-union labor for this major project. A tip of the hat to our friends at the COMMITTE - talk about doing a valuable service!

Does EVERYONE here understand what kind of a message that unions hiring non-union labor for hundreds of thousands of dollars of work sends, not just to our union, but to other unions as well?

This is not about hatred of LA - I love LA (like the movie title) and love working in LA. This is about the management of the AFM's largest local HIRING SCAB NON-UNION LABOR and paying them HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS for their scab, non-union work on a major project. It undermines EVERYTHING that unionism stands for.

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