« Why we need unions | Main | Are unions a force for good? »

March 24, 2009

Comments

Dizzy,

Just stating facts, Dizzy. Our local has been so corrupt for so long that many members have lost hope, and it's damn near impossible to get them activated. The new president, Vince Trobetta, spent $325,000+ paying non-union scab labor to refurbish our auditorium. He's going to spend more on new curtians for the place, is going to spend thousands more redoing his bathroom, yet he and the board are balking at fulfilling the promise of a studio for the members use. If the RMA wanted it it would be done, but since it is for the vast majority of the members,.. RANK and FILE, the board is hiding.

Try raising dues on only the life members to create a quorum.

Also a great way to envoke the impeachment process

aRealrecordingmusician is right; the rank-and-file is notoriously complacent and disengaged -- however one feels about the issues.

Finally something that Rick and I can agree about. But it's true in most democracies, large or small. We almost never have a quorum at Local 8 membership meetings, and our quorum requirements are ridiculously small. We didn't even get a quorum when we tried to lower dues - which still boggles my mind.

And, in my orchestra, most orchestra meetings get around a 1/3 of the orchestra, even though they're held at lunchtime inbetween services.

aRealrecordingmusician is right; the rank-and-file is notoriously complacent and disengaged -- however one feels about the issues.

The people who complain that the RMA "has taken over their locals" etc. don't want to acknowledge that there are such things as elections in all of this. In LA, RMA members constitute around 10% of Local 47's membership, and in Nashville, RMA membership has traditionally been well under 100, so it would take a lot more than these people to take over anything. If some don't like the results of the elections of their Locals, the remedy is simple enough: stop complaining and get out and vote!

DON'T BITE, ROBERT!
IF ANOTHERRECORDINGSKIPPY CAN'T BE BLAMING THE RMA FOR SOMETHING, HE DOESN'T HAVE ANYTHING TO OFFER.

Robert,

Are you really so clueless as to not know there ARE in fact closed shops? Namely the RMA cabal in Los Angeles. You have to be talking with tongue planted firmly in cheek if you say there are no closed shops with a straight face.

Either that, or you are hopelessly gullable.

Monk,
I am not seeking credibility. I have spent most of my life in the union and in the business. I quit 47 and 257 in protest, 47 being a RMA puppet regime and 257 having been taken over by RMA. It makes me sick to see what is going on and I hope my voice, however small, may influence the situation.

I have an AFM pension and while it is correct I'm not a big time union guy I think unions can be a force for good and a productive way of organizing labor. It just depends on what is going on.

Dear Rick Blank,

Why in the hell would a musician who does not believe in the union concept seek any credibility on a union blog? Most of the sock puppets and union officers who lurk here are union activists and progressive social activists. You are certainly entitled to your ideologies but they overwhelm any comments you might make as part of a constructive dialogue.

Incidentally, the Employee Free Choice Act discussions had nothing to due with the RMA vs AFM threads.

Furthermore, it is interesting that Robert would say that these things should be properly understood, and by implication accepted, as functions of human society. There are any number of activities that occur regularly in human society that we deplore: discrimination, abuse, exploitation etc. Institutions must be monitored consistently -- adults know that too. So how does this translate into some kind of naivete about human society? It doesn't. It is doctrinaire ideology speaking.

As I said -- intellectual dishonesty on display. Robert Levine would have us believe that unions are benign institutions committed to the common good. Union excesses and abuses? We won't talk about that. Would reality be too adult for you?

Sometimes the only word to describe my reaction to comments on this blog is "gobsmacked" - a term used in England for which there is no precise American equivalent. Rick Blanc's comment left me gobsmacked. When I pointed out to him that the closed shop was illegal in the US, he responded:

Yes, according to law.

As "closed shop" is a legal term, I think that's an admission he was wrong. But then he went on to write:

But in real life we know there are all kinds of ways of de facto pressuring and forcing people into things.

Which leads me to wonder how Rick ever made any money in the music business; he's obviously spent his entire life alone on a mountaintop, learning about people from reading books.

The phenomenon that Rick is describing is called "human society." It looks a lot like other institutions, such as "family" and "church" and "school" and "friendship." I urge him to explore it further, and to grapple with its implications like an adult.

Yes, according to law. But in real life we know there are all kinds of ways of de facto pressuring and forcing people into things. The music business for instance is very personality interactive, lots of primate politics. Peer group pressure can be intense -- and more. Never in my life have I known anyone in the music business who worked in a non right-to-work state and in a real music business job who elected to not be a member and instead just pay "Beck" costs. When musicians in LA tried that to do the New Era stuff they hit a firestorm of opposition and most ran back to the union. Legal force is not the only kind of force.

To claim there is no forced unionism in Washington or anywhere else is a stretch even for those as intellectually dishonest, doctrinaire and inept as one finds on this blog. Ask anyone who works in a "closed shop," under a CBA with a union security clause. Why won't you admit that unionists want to force people into unions and welcome vehicles like "card check" which will facilitate that?

US Labor Law 101: The so-called "closed shop" is illegal under US labor law and has been since 1947. Even in non-right-to-work states, union membership is not a condition of employment in a so-called "union shop"; only payment of that portion of union dues that goes towards contract administration and negotiation is required as a condition of employment, assuming that the CBA is written with a standard union security clause.

To claim there is no forced unionism in Washington or anywhere else is a stretch even for those as intellectually dishonest, doctrinaire and inept as one finds on this blog. Ask anyone who works in a "closed shop," under a CBA with a union security clause. Why won't you admit that unionists want to force people into unions and welcome vehicles like "card check" which will facilitate that?

And I think Downbeat is right; many rank-and-file are becoming weary of RMA militancy and belligerence. The RMA is cavalier about the collateral damage it is willing to inflict onto the industry, the union and ultimately individual musicians. This will increasingly, with time, help to discredit RMA legitimacy. Many musicians are beginning to understand that the RMA seeks top-down control over the industry and any means justify that end as far as they are concerned.

Not that I harbor any hope of persuading the entrenched -- some of whom like 802sessionman are rabid -- of anything. But maybe someone who can reason will read this.

I would invite anyone to make the case that right to work laws are somehow connected with the growth of non-AFM recording locations and the flight of work to those locations. I had not considered this before, and did a little research...Washington state is a "forced unionism" state, and Washington state seems to be the primary choice of production companies who record non-AFM. None of the right to work states (the entire southeast part of the country) seem to be the recipient of AFM recording work. Hmm... am I missing something here?

Only the fact that no one has tried to link right-to-work with non-AFM recording.

There is no "forced unionism" in Washington state or anywhere else. The reasons there is a non-union recording scene in Seattle have nothing to do with labor laws.

DONWBEAT' LATEST:

"I've addressed my concerns about that before (concerns of contractor retribution, etc) - no need to repeat it."
WHY NOT? HE'S REPEATED ALL OF HIS BS BEFORE AD NAUSEUM.

PERHAPS PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY CONCERNED WITH AFM RETRIBUTION.

AND DAN, I'D LAY ODDS ON DOWNBEAT'S FIRST NAME BEING TOM.

Once again the obsession with identities on this blog - I guess when the subject matter gets a bit too close to home, "shoot the messenger" (or maybe "smear" the messenger) becomes the fallback strategy? We could spend all day trying to guess who people like Dizzy, Monk, 802fiddler, anotherrecordinigmusician, arealrecordingmusician, Dan, and the rest are - clearly since the vast majority of posters choose to remain anonymous here, that says quite a bit about how "safe" they consider posting their names to be. I've addressed my concerns about that before (concerns of contractor retribution, etc) - no need to repeat it. Folks on all sides of these issues choose to remain anonymous here, for good reason.

Anyway, back to the issues.

I would invite anyone to make the case that right to work laws are somehow connected with the growth of non-AFM recording locations and the flight of work to those locations. I had not considered this before, and did a little research. According to this:

http://www.nrtw.org/rtws.htm

Washington state is a "forced unionism" state, and Washington state seems to be the primary choice of production companies who record non-AFM. None of the right to work states (the entire southeast part of the country) seem to be the recipient of AFM recording work. Hmm... am I missing something here?

Yet another soon to be Number 1 film recorded outside the US, "Monster Vs. Aliens" Recorded in London, produced in the US by Dreamworks. There's goes that argument about the whole film being done out of the country,.. like the pathetic argument about "knowing".

The koolaide, alying lapdog folks always have excuses, don't they.

PETE VRIESENGER, WITH HIS OWN EXPERTISE FROM OUTSIDE THE RECORDING BUSINESS, AND WHO CHAMPIONED HIS OWN BRAND OF RECORDING CONTRACT 'PROGRESS' ONLY A FEW YEARS AGO, HAS NOW CHIMED IN WITH HIS OWN DEMANDS. I'M NOT A WALKING AFM BYLAWS ENCYCLOPEDIA, AND MEANINGFUL STATISTICS HAVE ALREADY BEEN PUBLISHED BY THE FMSMF.

MEANWHILE, DOWNBEAT EQUATES MALEVOLENCE WITH DISILLUSIONMENT BORN OF AFM BETRAYAL, AND THINKS IT'S THE SAME THING. SINCE HE WOULD APPEAR TO BE AN AFM INSIDER, THIS WOULD EXPLAIN WHY HE THINKS THE UNION IS DOING FINE JUST THE WAY IT IS.

AND HE POINTS OUT THAT I WRITE IN CAPS, IN CASE NO-ONE HAS NOTICED.

From downbeat:

And where was last week's #1 box office film (Nicolas Cage's "Knowing") scored? Australia. Says it all.

"Knowing" was shot and produced in Australia with an American star as well as an Australian cast. There is no compelling reason why it should have been scored here. By his reasoning "Duplicity," which opened this week as a big hit with British actor Clive Owen, should have been scored in London instead of LA where Pete Anthony conducted.

They are selfish, greedy, and immoral, and yet they somehow have people like you convinced that they are "good union members" worthy of your support.

And by his own admission downbeat is a (questionable) "part-time recording musician" and, undoubtedly a full-time wannabe.

Yet that tiny minority is driving AFM policy (or at least did until Tom Lee came along) which has buried its head in the sand with regards to the worldwide movement to buyout deals.

The recording community had a reasonable relationship with AFM hierarchy until Lee "came along."

The legacy recording deals that those musicians should thank their lucky stars the AFM was able to provide for them....

What crap! Without the 1958 Musicians Guild and the later formation of the RMA the "legacy recording deals" would have never existed. A certain German during WW II used to rewrite history very much as downbeat is now doing.

I, for one, will be glad to see these arrogant, petulant crybabies go.

Finally, downbeat should gaze at his reflection in a mirror, change "crybabies" to wannabes and repeat that statement.


Right-to-work has been around for decades and the AFM is doing just fine. Let's not have THAT brand of fear-mongering around here, eh?

Just fine? An interesting perspective on the state of the AFM, not to mention the size of its membership. Right-to-work might not be the sole cause of that - it almost certainly isn't, in fact - but it's not "fear-mongering" to worry about it, or the forces behind it that want to take away what little ability unions have now to improve the lot of people who work for a living.

Ignoring the truth is exactly what's got the AFM into this mess...

If by "truth" you mean "data," I've yet to see any that really supports your position.

What I find most telling about Downbeat's arguments is that they aren't really arguments at all; rather he/she simply restates beliefs in the hope that the constant repetition will turn them into facts in the minds of the gullible. And when that fails, he/she starts to use words like "selfish, greedy and immoral" to describe fellow union members whose desire is no more invidious than to have their union not undercut a compensation scheme that has distributed quite a bit of money to a significant number of musicians over the years.

"THE STATISTICS DON'T BEAR HIM OUT"


I'm waiting very patiently to hear your statistics. This discussion thread only demonstrates that nobody, including myself, understands the governing bylaws that are applicable to highly-complex policies that are forced upon AFM members every day of the week.

You bet I want to know statistics. What's the income threshold for inclusion in the SRLA bargaining unit, and how many members are included? What are the governing "laws" regarding work dues on $85 million in special payments, and please give arguments why I must respect those who refuse to pay? And let's talk seriously about who has the authority to establish promulgated agreements and why, and avoid all of the diversionary tactics.

I have earnestly debated AFM recording agreements for more than ten years in attempt to try to make sense of their structure. Specific arguments, as now stated on my blog, remain unchallenged. These arguments are representative of proven labor structures and principles. I have presented these truths to the AFM Futures Committee and have authored Convention resolutions to correct these wrongful practices.

As a local officer I have a responsibility to Local 20-623 members to bring finality to this endless war, otherwise I must look for more logical alternatives.

I believe in a strong national union, but I'm among a growing majority of members who do not trust the legality of these structures, let alone the intentions behind them. I'm looking for serious answers, and quickly.

In Solidarity,
Pete

ooooohhh.. "malevolent"! Coming from a self-professed "disillusioned" person, I guess that's par for the course...

Right-to-work has been around for decades and the AFM is doing just fine. Let's not have THAT brand of fear-mongering around here, eh?

Ignoring the truth is exactly what's got the AFM into this mess, just like Dizzy wants to do. Must be why he's so angry he types in ALL CAPS all the time. He's like the buggy whip manufacturer when cars came along. Much easier to be bitter, jaded and angry rather than compete and move forward.

We can look forward, or we can be tied to the past. Each of us must decide in our own way which way to look, forward or back...

TO SPEAK SO 'KNOWLEDGEABLY' - FROM THE PERSPECTIVE ONLY AN INSIDER WOULD HAVE - ABOUT WHAT THE AFM IS TRYING TO DO TO ITS MEMBERS, WHILE BEING SO ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT IT, POINTS FURTHER TO WHAT DAN JUST SAID:

IGNORE THE MALEVOLENT DOWNBEAT.

The comments to this entry are closed.