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July 28, 2009

Comments

And, yes, labor law is very strange compared to the rest of American law. That's why there are lawyers exclusively practicing labor law, and why lawyers practicing in other fields generally ought to avoid labor law cases and clients.

The distinction was made in 1959. George Meany, then the AFL-CIO president, persuaded congress to exempt labor councils from the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (Landrum-Griffin). And since the labor councils don't represent employees or collectively bargain with employers, NLRA, RLA and various other laws governing labor relations don't apply to them, either.

Don't parse. Player conferences, like geo conferences, are considered subsidiary to the parent union under labor law, regardless of the conferences' corporate or association structures, manner of funding and their IRS classification. Conferences must follow the same federal re elections and financial accountability as the AFM and its locals.

It's interesting, though, that the AFL-CIO doesn't fall into that category. Labor law is very strange sometimes...

Or maybe that's "most of the time."

Don't parse. Player conferences, like geo conferences, are considered subsidiary to the parent union under labor law, regardless of the conferences' corporate or association structures, manner of funding and their IRS classification. Conferences must follow the same federal re elections and financial accountability as the AFM and its locals.

Ken,

So, I'm parsing from your explanation that any organization or group that doesn't fall within the NLRA or LMRDA definition of "union" is immune from the prohibitions that B&K cite every Convention year. What are the implications of that for Player Conferences? Clearly, we are not "unions" or even unions.

Hmm....

National, state and local labor councils are not considered "unions" within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act or the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (Landrum-Griffin). The AFM's actions with regard to the AFL-CIO election endorsement are permissible.

For many years in my role as a Player Conference Officer, I, and others in a similar position have received instructions from the AFM Law Firm of Bredhoff and Kaiser about appropriate behavior for union elections, particulary in advance of the AFM Convention.
...
Perhaps AFL-CIO elections are different than individual union elections for purposes of the restriction under the ACT. I don't know, do you?

I don't. I had assumed that the press release was vetted by B&K for legality. There may be a "de minimus" exception, although the quote from B&K would suggest otherwise.

Of course, employer contributions to union election campaigns are also illegal, and I assume that's violated every time a contractor runs for an AFM office. Yet I've never heard of a charge being brought on those grounds.

Robert,

For many years in my role as a Player Conference Officer, I, and others in a similar position have received instructions from the AFM Law Firm of Bredhoff and Kaiser about appropriate behavior for union elections, particulary in advance of the AFM Convention.

In your prior role as a Conference Officer, I imagine you might have received similar instruction or maybe you still receive them currently in your role as a Local Officer. Among the more interesting comments contained in the letters that I have received were things like:

The Labor-Manamgement Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959
regulates elections for Union Office. Among other things, the
Act expressly prohibits the use of union funds to promote the
candidacy of any person running for International Union
Office. The United States Department of Labor which is
responsible for administering and enforcing enforcing
that Act,has consistently interpreted the Act to mean any and
all Union expenditures, no matter how minimal the amount.

The link in your comment goes to the AFM web-site, which certainly has hosting expenses. In addition, at first glance the announcement itself appears to be a "press release" originating in New York, while the IEB was making that endorsement decision at a meeting in Las Vegas. This could mean there was expense in AFM staff or perhaps larger "press release" expenses from the Carmen Group.

Perhaps AFL-CIO elections are different than individual union elections for purposes of the restriction under the ACT. I don't know, do you?

Endorsing Landesman would have been a curious move for the AFM but his selection by Obama is even more curiuos. Rocco is the head of the Broadway League Production company called Jujamcyn. He owns 5 Broadway Theatres, at one time or another has owned 2 or perhaps 3 minor league baseball teams. I believe he also has an interest in race horses.

I understand he has a history of not for profit and philanthropic interests, but I, as well as some of my colleagues on Broadway, have grave concerns on the future direction of the NEA given Landesman's involvement with The League as a theatre owner and producer. As you probably are aware, the size of the Broadway Orchestra has been under attack in recent history by The League with the charge of preserving the standard and quality of live theatrical performance left to our local.

The first sentence in the NEA's mission statement reads:

"The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education."

It's hard for those of us who work on Broadway and for Jujamcyn to believe the idea of "supporting excellence in the arts" is something Landesman cares much about.

A case strictly in point is the last run of "Gypsy" starring Patti Lupone. As soon as the numbers dipped a bit, the first move the company made was to let several members (half) of the string section go. Granted, the show was over the minimum number of musicians deemed appropriate by the CBA (19 is the min., the orchestration called for 26 if memory serves me correctly) giving the producer the option of reducing the orchestra size. In this case, we were playing the original charts and the orchestra was placed on stage as opposed to in the pit. Cutting half the string section to save a few bucks when the orchestra was both a musically and visually integral component to the production hardly seems to be in "support of excellence in the arts."

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