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May 31, 2010


There it is in a nutshell. How could anyone say it louder or clearer? David Finck underscores and proves the point most eloquently. Our union is going down the drain, led by an dictator who seems possessed by authoritarian power, as if satisfying an inadequate ego, with NOTHING for the members he took an oath to represent. He has maintained his clutch on the union by pitting member against member and local against local. He must have instilled considerable intimidation in those around him to have kept the reigns held so tightly. We all know about divide and conquer, the first rule of internal war. Tom Lee is an expert in this, if nothing else. To undermine his own members with the inclusion of employers at a bargaining negotiation is unconscionable - almost beyond belief - but entirely within keeping of his repeatedly demonstrated methodology.

To all intents and purposes, the AFM is just about done. The last and only chance for survival is to elect Ray Hair; otherwise, we can kiss the old brotherhood - our brotherhood - goodbye. And Tom Lee doesn't care one whit. He will collect his pension and whatever perks are coming his way and ride off into the sunset, maybe to be appointed to a 'glorious' position in a Washington union lobby or some such - as a reward for all of his years in destroying our union and the great 'wisdom' and experience he has gained in doing it. He doesn't have to worry. And he will rewrite history to show that it was all the fault of others: the RMA, the Player Conferences, the rich, the ungrateful, a few selfish musicians, etc., etc., ad nauseum. Need we say more?

The history of musicians is strewn with the wreckage of those who have so often allowed their passion for music to be abused by those who wish to take advantage of it. Many musicians have not always been very good at taking care of the practical aspects of their livelihoods; being good at music typically excludes business practicality by default. This is the only way that this particular travesty that we find ourselves in has been enabled to go on for so long - long enough, in fact, to bring the AFM to the very brink of extinction.

Please, delegates, vote to save your union with a vote for Ray Hair. But there's more. Hair's genuine concern for AFM members, and a long demonstrated approach for reason and inclusiveness, also provides an opportunity for perhaps some of the best leadership we've yet seen in the AFM, and a real chance for an enlightened period in our history. This the only hope to save the union, to bring back peace and cooperation between all of us, as well as saving so many members' livelihoods while still some of them are actually working for pay!

There is a letter going around attacking the President of Local 802 in regard to the aforementioned jingle negotiations. That letter was sent by a group called "Recording Ratifiers" to President Gagliardi at Local 802. The people who signed the letter (including Tom's committee appointees) appear to be almost all employers, music producers, contractors, Jingle house owners or other kinds of supervisory personnel. Some of them even appear to be non-members or expelled.

Interestingly, this group calling itself "Recording Ratifiers" also decided to cc the entire IEB.

I would imagine that the timing of this letter was orchestrated to try and influence the upcoming election.

I would hope that the Federation delegates would be wise to the "Recording Ratifiers" smear campaign.


As David Fink points out....

"How can any musician speak freely when there are people for whom we work present at our caucus where proposals are being prepared? Tom Lee knows this. Having these employers at our meetings before we negotiate with them is an intimidation technique employed by a union president who seems to have forged relationships with management and desires to silence the voices of the very musicians whom he represents. It is exactly the kind of thing that weakens our union. lt cannot be tolerated. That the Lee administration created and endorsed it is unforgivable."


We have a leader that has obviously lost his way and an IEB that follows him blindly.


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