Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has joined the American Federation of Musicians’ Listen Up! campaign to keep film companies from sending their film scoring jobs overseas. “I’m fighting for good paying middle-class jobs across California,” Garcetti said in a statement released by the musicians union, “and our work to pass legislation, which will boost production and music scoring, must be with that goal in mind.” The musicians union wants producers who receive tax incentives in the U.S. to be required to score their films in the U.S. Garcetti has taken a leading role in advocating for the passage of AB 1839, the bill that would expand the state’s film incentive program and increase incentives for film soundtrack recording in California. The mayor, who was recently made an honorary member of L.A.’ Musicians Local 47, said during his induction ceremony that “when companies go outside the United States and make $150 million, $450 million, a half a billion off a film but can’t pay some union musicians here in Los Angeles, that’s wrong.” On his first visit as mayor to Sacramento last week, Garcetti lobbied for passage of AB 1839.
The American Federation of Musicians are not letting up on Marvel and Disney for scoring their films overseas while getting tax breaks at home. This time the union was in Cleveland close to where filming for Captain America: The Winter Soldier was occurring. About 35 AFM members took to the city’s downtown streets on Thursday to protest the score for the star spangled sequel being outsourced to the UK while Marvel/Disney receive a nearly $10 million tax credit for filming in Ohio. Chanting “bring the music home,” union members handed out flyers slamming the profitable studio for heading “straight to Europe and hired foreign musicians under the table and on the cheap, robbing U.S. musicians of their jobs.”
“People we spoke to on the street in Cleveland were shocked by what the studio was doing, taking their tax dollars that are intended to keep jobs in the US and doing the exact opposite,” Linda Rapka of LA-based Local 47 told me. Rapka was in Cleveland with three other members from LA and two others from NYC Local 802. The AFM was joined in Cleveland also by members of the SEIU, the AFI-CIO and food services union UNITE HERE. The AFM, which has about 90,000 members in the US and Canada, are planning future protests against Marvel/Disney. This latest action this week comes just over month after the AFM staged protests in LA …
In anticipation of the LA premiere of Iron Man 3 tomorrow, the American Federation of Musicians is out today protesting Marvel Studios. AFM members were outside the midtown Manhattan offices of Marvel on Tuesday handing out leaflets angry with the studio not using their members for Iron Man 3. The union was also on site at a Captain America: The Winter Soldier shoot in downtown LA on Olympic Blvd today and outside of the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood where the IM3 premiere is scheduled for Wednesday evening. About 15 members were at the Captain America sequel site and around 30 to 50 are expected at the Hollywood and Highland location this morning. “Marvel is unfair to musicians because they take tax breaks from states but when it comes to doing a score for their movies, they outsource the work overseas. We’ve been protesting and raising the alarm about this over two years since Iron Man 1 and we feel those jobs belong in the US,” John Acosta VP of AFM Local 47 told me today. It is not clear yet if the AFM plans to be present in some form or another outside the Iron Man 3 premiere tomorrow. In June 2012, AFM protested outside Marvel’s Manhattan Beach offices over the same issue in regards to The Avengers. Iron Man 3 was partially …
The American Federation of Musicians has reached a new three-year agreement with ABC, CBS and NBC that covers live and recorded TV shows, Variety reports. The TV/videotape pact covers musicians on shows such as Dancing With The Stars as well as bands and guest artists on late-night shows such as Late Show With David Letterman, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel Live. The videotape agreement also covers shows like American Idol, Saturday Night Live, The X Factor, The Voice plus the Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, Tonys and other awards shows. Negotiations began in September. In October, AFM Locals 47 (LA) and 802 (NYC) protested outside TV studios, handing out leaflets that read “Give musicians fair pay for fair play”. The new accord includes basic wage rate increases, increased pension and health and welfare contributions and new media provisions requiring supplemental payments when TV shows are used or reused in webcasts or online. The AFM said it began negotiations for a successor agreement covering movies and telefilms on November 2. The contract expires February 23.
The union’s complaint is that its performers in 7 years haven’t been given a pay raise or healthcare increases on these live-audience network shows. So the AFM is protesting outside The Tonight Show, Dancing With The Stars, Today, Good Morning America, The Late Show With David Letterman, and Jimmy Kimmel Live. As audiences lined up for the shows, musicians affiliated with AFM Local 47 (LA) and AFM Local 802 (NYC) handed out leaflets that read “Give musicians fair pay for fair play”. Other affected shows are American Idol, SNL, the Oscars, The X Factor, Last Call With Carson Daly, The Voice, and awards shows like Emmys, Golden Globes, Tonys, Academy of Country Music, and People’s Choice. According to AFM, the musicians on these shows last received a pay raise in 2005 when CBS, NBC, and ABC last approved a new contract. Negotiations on a new contract began in late September but the networks are demanding major concessions before wage hikes are even discussed. AFM president Ray Hair points out that compared to singer Mariah Carey’s $18 million fee to judge American Idol this season, the cost for hiring all musicians for all shows, all season, would cost only about half of that amount. “Instead of appreciation for what we do, we were met with demands for unjustified concessions that have angered the musicians,” Hair said. “Actors and stagehands get raises every year, but musicians are left out in …
EXCLUSIVE: Talk about embarrassing a studio and a guild simultaneously. Tomorrow the American Federation of Musicians will picket Lionsgate because the studio is not using AFM musicians on The Hunger Games. Since that movie is now in post-production and AFM President Ray Hair has made Lionsgate the target of picketing, Thursday’s protest is happening at the Lionsgate TV show Mad Men‘s downtown LA location shoot. Further complicating the situation is that one of tomorrow’s picketers is expected to be Hair’s chief lieutenant, Recording Musicians Association Of Los Angeles President Pete Anthony who sources tell me “scabbed” as an orchestrator on The Hunger Games. (Anthony is a conductor for James Newton-Howard who is the composer for The Hunger Games.) Here’s what Hair says is AFM’s problem with Lionsgate:
“The American Federation of Musicians is moving to organize the independent film studio Lionsgate, and we are working right now toward securing AFM coverage for all musicians who might be employed on their upcoming movie, The Hunger Games,” Hair recently told AFM members. “The director, cinematographers, editors, actors, writers, and many others are all receiving union wages, benefits and protections for this U.S.-filmed movie, and so it should be for the musicians. Unfortunately, we currently have no motion picture contracts on file for the movie The Hunger Games, although we know that post-production music work has begun on this film domestically. Our goal is that Lionsgate recognize the importance of being a responsible employer, as well as the unparalleled value of working with the world’s finest musicians – you, our AFM members.”
The problem of having Anthony – the president of the RMA, a subsect of the national AFM — picket a movie he has scabbed on has brought considerable attention to the orchestrator because he’s up for reelection in two weeks. Activist AFM members are calling on Anthony to resign for working “non-union” even as he has been a vital member of the AFM. Further deepening the tension is that the AFM has a strict bylaw calling for a $50K fine for the composer and anyone else who works non-union. Now the question is whether AFM president Hair and local 47 President Vince Trombetta will make their members as responsible as they are holding Lionsgate? Here’s what the blog Responsible47 is saying about the AFM/RSM/Hunger Games/Lionsgate matter:
WHO ORCHESTRATED THE FILM? – wait for it… None other than the grand Pooh-bah of the RMALA, Pete Anthony.
That’s right folks. Not just an RMA member, not just an RMA officer, but the PRESIDENT OF THE RECORDING MUSICIANS ASSOCIATION OF LOS ANGELES (RMALA) just orchestrated a film that went out of the country (as he had done many times before), and orchestration IS covered by Union Contracts. There’s also a $50,000 fine for doing that work, though some mouths have been wagging, saying out of the country is fine. (See Bylaw below.)
That’s the explosive claim that the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the American Federation of Musicians are making today based on the satellite radio company’s efforts to cut deals with independent record labels giving them 100% of the royalty payments. Such an arrangement would break with the traditional practice of funneling 45% of royalties to SoundExchange — a clearinghouse authorized by Congress to handle artists’ payments – with 5% going to the unions (typically to pay session musicians), and the remaining half going to record labels. “This move is blatantly anti-artist and anti-musician,” says AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth. “The statutory license established by Congress and the system administered by SoundExchange ensures transparency, efficiency, accountability — and most important — direct, non-recoupable payment to artists of their fair share of royalties for SiriusXM’s use of their music.” SiriusXM didn’t immediately respond to a request to provide its views in the dispute.