« Cohen to FMCS | Main | Not just the RMA »

July 04, 2009

Comments

Robert: "Why all the questions about a "non-organization"?"

What's really curious is your hurry, as a symphony guy, to want to make those questions go away and minimize any and all mention of the PMG, its leaders, and its mission. Your allegiances and loyalties are showing again, Bob!

Hundreds of members joined the PMG and paid membership dues ($100/yr, as I recall?) - given most of those are likely LA recording musicians, that makes questions about this group relevant. The fact that those membership dues have apparently not been returned and the organization's website has been kept open are more pieces to the mysterious PMG puzzle. Its officers (Sazer, etc) refuse to discuss the organization or even answer the most basic question about it, thus leading to more questions about why an organization would be so secretive about its mission and goals.

If a new union for symphonic musicians popped up and got hundreds of players to pay membership dues and was written about in the national trade press (Variety), I'll bet you'd be asking questions - a lot of them.

But let's get to the bottom line here, Bob: Would you say that it is a sign of loyalty and solidarity to one's own trade union to act as an officer and leader of a directly competing union? Yes, I know, the charges were dropped, but we're not talking about rules and regulations here, we're talking about something much simpler and not prone to regulatory technicalities: loyalty.

Need for a Sec-Treas - maybe; maybe not. Federal law requires an elected official who has charge of the books and funds. It's always better if the CEO isn't also the CFO. Some unions have only non-administrative officers, with hired professionals to run the shop. But an elected officer with the fiduciary responsibility has to sign off on the union's finances. The AFM delegates have not yet shown a strong desire for another type of setup.

The charges: Former General Counsel Cohen informed the IEB in the mid-1990s that the bylaw Marc Sazer was alleged to have violated was unlawful because it proposed to interfere with an individual's rights under Section 7 of the NLRA, which gives an individual the right to form, join or support and union, as well as the right not to do so. The IEB chose not to expunge it from the bylaws because everyone liked the sound of "Thou shalt join no other competing union." Frankly, I was surprised that the IEB or Sam caused these charges to be filed, since the outcome could only be for them to be withdrawn, since the bylaw is unlawful. I would not take Sam's withdrawal of the charges as meaning anything other than that someone finally woke up in New York. Or maybe that was the plan all along.

PMG: There are no secrets. They made it plain what they were proposing to be about: An alternative representative for videogame work. In my view, the PMG was just as much about gamesmanship as the IEB filing unsupportable charges.

Tom Lee: Doesn't like members telling him what they think he should do. Has a strong adverse reaction to that. If you pick on him, he'll pick back. Has all the makings for a rocky relationship with a strong-willed, opinionated professional rank-and-file. Tom Lee is the boss of the union. Whether the union fights with its members or not is virtually up to him. When he says "no" to his members, closes the door, refuses to listen, a strong-willed, opinionated professional rank-and-file can be expected to fight. We told Tom in 2003 not to engage directly with his detractors; he did anyway, to everyone's detriment. We fashioned in 2005 a structure for getting along and being productive in the recording world. Tom sabotaged it. None of this crap going on now needed to happen. All of it was preventable.

And it actually has nothing to do with SPF, Secondary Market, one-offs, new-use/re-use/overuse - it's all about the health of communication between a union leader and his members. Tom ultimately chose to ignore one segment of the membership in favor of another, when the truth is that no one needed to be ignored.

Ironically, Tom and I co-authored a negotiation preparation report in the late 1990s, which, if its recommendations for rank-and-file prenegotiation organizing had been implemented by then-President Young, might have set a completely different stage for the future, whereby this videogame contract drama would never have been an issue.

It's really too bad. So much time, money and energy has been wasted for what amounts to no gain for anyone.

Sockpuppet writes:

Disband the PMG and refund the membership fees for all those musicians who got snookered into joining this non-organization. Its continued existence, along with the federal lawsuits, only serve as impediments for resolving the important issues we face today.

Why all the questions about a "non-organization"? And it's pretty clear at this point that the lawsuits and the PMG are excuses for the IEB's failure to "resolve the important issues we face today," not "impediments."

Marc Sazer writes:

"I spent hours on trial before the IEB, answering dozens of questions posed by a hostile IEB. The IEB refused to allow a proper record of my trial to be created (I offered to hire a court reporter at my own expense). They repeatedly attempted to require that I spend my own money to travel thousands of miles for my hearing. I was told that I would be denied legal representation while the IEB had an attorney representing them. Finally, the IEB tried Andy Malloy and me – by speakerphone!

After being subjected to a kangaroo court without process or integrity, the thought that someone who won’t even stand up to speak in their own name could accuse me of hiding is mind-boggling.

My trial is now concluded, and I would be delighted for all of the associated evidence to be released."

Marc Sazer writes, "How often has the IEB filed charges against a member? And how many times have they had to back down?"

Uh, I believe it was Sam Folio, not the IEB, who filed the charges.

MS continues, "It is not gratifying to be attacked and accused of secrecy, of hiding things, by anonymous ghosts of blogdom."

It is a historical fact demonstrated on this very blog that you refuse to answer basic questions about the mission, goals, and current purpose of the PMG, the organization of which you are the Vice President. You can spin all you want, but you're clearly hiding and keeping secret even the most basic information about this secretive guild that represents direct competition to the AFM by its very mission statement published on the website. When you and your pals create and fund a competing guild to the AFM and then refuse to answer even the most basic questions about it, what do you honestly expect people to do?? Do you expect the AFM and the IEB to congratulate you for doing what some consider a traitorous act? Forming a competing guild is a major escalation of the "recording wars" - your indignation is surprising given the nature of the act.

Want the questions to stop? Simple. Disband the PMG and refund the membership fees for all those musicians who got snookered into joining this non-organization. Its continued existence, along with the federal lawsuits, only serve as impediments for resolving the important issues we face today.

It is gratifying that the divisive and foolish charges against me have been dropped. How often has the IEB filed charges against a member? And how many times have they had to back down?

These charges were and always were about toxic politics...nothing else.

It is not gratifying to be attacked and accused of secrecy, of hiding things, by anonymous ghosts of blogdom.

I spent hours on trial before the IEB, answering dozens of questions posed by a hostile IEB. The IEB refused to allow a proper record of my trial to be created (I offered to hire a court reporter at my own expense). They repeatedly attempted to require that I spend my own money to travel thousands of miles for my hearing. I was told that I would be denied legal representation while the IEB had an attorney representing them. Finally, the IEB tried Andy Malloy and me – by speakerphone!

After being subjected to a kangaroo court without process or integrity, the thought that someone who won’t even stand up to speak in their own name could accuse me of hiding is mind-boggling.

My trial is now concluded, and I would be delighted for all of the associated evidence to be released. I would trust my fellow musicians to form their own judgment about the fairness of the proceedings, and the reality of the evidence.

I believe that the record shows an AFM held captive by the power politics of ambitious politicians. Fairness, democracy, and basic competence are denied.

This union must institute real change. A commitment to real process, real fairness and the needs of real players would be a good first step.

Robert writes, "It’s worth noting that these charges date back to 2007. It doesn’t say anything good about the IEB that this matter wasn't resolved resolved many months ago. The old saying that “justice delayed is justice denied” comes to mind."

Well, Robert you old RMA propagandist, we finally agree on something. The charges certainly should not have been allowed to linger for so long, but let's also not forget that according to well-informed people close to the IEB, there were delays caused by the unwillingness or inability of Sazer and/or Malloy to appear to answer the charges - their appearance was postponed many times.

But the charges being dropped still don't begin to answer so many of the outstanding questions about the mission, goal, plans and tactics of the PMG, the anti-AFM competing guild that these two gentlemen are accused of being officers of. Reports indicate there was a membership drive some time back, with stories of arms being (gently) twisted at LA film scoring sessions to join the PMG. Well, what happened? Where did the money go? Was it given to the Fareplay attack fund? Is the PMG fully-funded and waiting for some event to jump up like some evil jack-in-the-box and claim jurisdiction of videogame scoring? What are the long-term goals of this organization, which by its existence and definition as posted on its website represents the most direct competitive threat to the AFM that exists today? And why do people like Marc Sazer, who reads this blog, choose to ignore all questions about the PMG? What's to hide? Why the secret agenda? All questions that every AFM member should be care about.

The comments to this entry are closed.