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Thank You! – For the Weekend

December 1st, 2008 1 comment

By Pete Vriesenga
The Denver Musician, Winter 2008

The bumper sticker on my wife’s car is a good reminder of what we stand for: “The Labor Movement – the folks who brought you the weekend.” We often take for granted that the weekend is that time when we do our Holiday shopping, catch up with chores around the home and change the oil in the car. It’s a time when we meet the neighbors for dinner before going out for a concert, and a time when we can go to church or spend a day with family at the zoo.

It’s hard to imagine life without a weekend, but it was little more than a concept through much of the industrial revolution when men, women and children were working 10 & 16-hr days and seven-day weeks. There was a strong work ethic at the time as many of these workers came from farms, but as farmers they could still regulate their work day to maintain a healthy and sustainable regimen. Suddenly these same workers were thrust into a workplace regulated only by profit, where steam whistles signaled the start and stop of the day.

Massive worker demonstrations in the 1870s marked the beginning of a long, collective fight for the eight-hour day. Protesters were literally gunned down at Haymarket Square in Chicago and labor leaders were hanged for inflammatory speeches in support of this cause. It wasn’t until 1938 that the 40-hr. work week, along with minimum wage guarantees, child labor protections and more, were signed into law with the passing of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Credit for this historic effort goes first and foremost to generations of workers who held out principle before their personal livelihood. But we also recognize forces and individuals outside of the labor movement who helped to champion this cause. Henry Ford, for example, hated labor unions, but he also understood that the automobile could never be sold to a population that had no time to use it. Ford gave his workers two days off long before the passing of the FLSA, and then went about promoting weekend getaways and road trips.

So, what does this have to do with making a living today as a musician? A question I often hear is “what does the union do for me?”

For starters, consider the dozens of local, publicly-funded orchestras, dance and theatre organizations in metro-Denver. They have given written assurance of compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act in their grant applications, but too often avoid paying even minimum wage. This may be acceptable for youth orchestras, but certainly not with “professional” organizations with six-figure budgets. The common loophole is to pre-classify performers (the entire orchestra?) as “volunteers.” Economic impact and job creation that should have targeted studied and accomplished performers once again fails to trickle past the bookkeeper.

Protection against this abuse was with you all along, but maybe you didn’t see it. You need only to request to be properly classified as an “employee” before the FLSA guarantees that you will be paid at at least minimum wage from this point forward. You will be protected against employer retaliation for standing up for your rights, and you shall have the right to organize a Union if you so wish.

Now ask yourself again, what does the union do for me?

“Right-to-Work” FOR LESS

September 15th, 2008 No comments

By Pete Vriesenga
The Denver Musician, Fall 2008

Amendment 47, “Right-to-Work” for less is slated for the November Ballot. It is as deceptive in name as its proponents: “A Better Colorado.” They claim that “Amendment 47 will strengthen Colorado’s economy, create jobs and make our State more competitive,” but nothing could be further from the truth. Average annual earnings for workers in right-to-work states are $5,333 less than their counterparts in free-bargaining states, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Right-to-Work states have higher populations (21% more) who live day to day without health coverage, as compared to free bargaining states. Poverty rates are 12.5% higher in right-to-work states and infant mortality rates are 16% higher. Maximum weekly worker compensation benefits are $30 higher in free bargaining states ($609 versus $579 in right-to-work states). Additionally, workplace deaths are 51% higher in right-to-work states because its very difficult to find anyone with the courage to SPEAK UP when Unions have long gone by the wayside.

A Better Colorado wrongly claims that “Amendment 47 protects workers’ paychecks” (workdues under union collective bargaining agreements) when statistics clearly show that the alternative ensures that much of the workers’ earnings shall never trickle past the bookkeeper. A Better Colorado wrongly claims that “No one should be forced to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment” when federal law already prohibits compulsory union membership in all states.

The Phonograph Record Labor Agreement – A Great Deal for Media Giants

January 1st, 2004 No comments

By Pete Vriesenga
Published in the Denver Musician, Jan-Mar, 2004

Every day the music industry endures another revolution. New technologies facilitate music downloading and video swapping with as many as 250 million illegal song trades per week in the MP3 format, and yet, this same technology has enabled new marketing methods, allowing growth for small independents. Tower Records was the music retail giant of yesterday, and now they’ve filed for bankruptcy protection as Apple’s iTunes sold 19.2 million units in 2003 (surpassing physical singles) without ever opening a warehouse or talking to a customer. Last month Norah Jones’ second album, Feels Like Home (Blue Note – EMI) helped break a three-year industry slump by selling 1.7 million copies in three weeks.

What does this mean for professional musicians working in the recording industry, and how should the AFM respond? There’s no stopping consumer-driven technology, so how do we use it to our advantage? The AFM has made great advances by securing digital performance rights, and the RIAA is succeeding in their efforts to educate and protect against illegal infringement of copyrights. How can we respond to consumer demand, while at the same time shore-up the AFM’s defenses against downward economic pressures that harm the major recording centers? How can we unify AFM recording musicians to prepare for an uncertain future?

The “Phonograph Record Labor Agreement” (PRLA) has been the foundation of AFM recording policy since 1944, and is the AFM’s agreement with Warner Brothers, Atlantic Recording, Elektra Entertainment, Sony Music, Universal Music Group, Polygram, BMG and EMI Music. These major labels have negotiated with the AFM to establish all working conditions from session rates to mandated residual payments. This is great for the musicians who do this work, but it’s even better for the major labels because in recent years these negotiated terms of employment now apply to “the industry.” AFM Locals retain the right to establish rates for Demo and Limited Pressings Recordings (under 10,000 units sold); otherwise “the industry” is expected to be on par with the major labels.

Independent producers can and do sign as signatories to the PRLA, and others name third-party payroll services as the signatory so they can choose where and when to use the agreement. But the use of the agreement is largely confined to the major recording centers where much of that work continues to be lost to non-union or foreign production. Maybe it’s time we take a closer look at this agreement, if only because sixty years is a very long time in the music industry.

It was 1998, and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra was about to record an original soundtrack for a new fantasy film, Warriors of Virtue. The Law brothers, four Denver doctors produced the film. They wanted a full symphonic soundtrack because of their appreciation and support for the arts. They wanted the Colorado Symphony because they live and work in Denver. The only hitch: the Law’s refused to sign as a signatory to the PRLA, which is mandated by the AFM before such a recording can take place.

The logic of the agreement is that royalty payments are collected and distributed to musicians through the AFM’s “Special Payments Fund” when a film is successful. If the film is a box-office flop (as was Warriors of Virtue) it is unlikely that it will go to secondary markets and residual payments will not be made.

I contacted the attorney representing the Law’s to explain their obligation, as well as the mutual benefits of signing as a signatory to the PRLA. He was very familiar with the contents of the agreement, but his primary objections were the complex secondary market and assumption aspects of the agreement. Without wavering, he said he would not allow the Law brothers to enter into a 100-page contract that was bargained and refined over the course of many years by the major labels. The Law’s, by comparison, were already out on a limb after raising $12 million to produce the film. This was their first attempt at such and effort, so it was his responsibility to ensure the Law’s would not be bound, now or into the future, to an unfamiliar or overly restrictive contract.

AFM Symphonic Services advised that it was my obligation to prevent the recording from taking place. After much thought I chose not to interfere with the project, and quite frankly because I found myself agreeing with Law’s attorney. Why should a small, independent producer be forced into the same agreement that has been negotiated by and adapted for the needs of Warner Brothers?

The recording went as scheduled and I was then bracing for damage control. Within a matter of weeks word got out that the CSO “was open for business” and very soon the orchestra was presented with more than a dozen offers of non-union recording work. To their credit, the musicians elected not to follow the path of the Seattle Symphony by accepting this work, preferring instead to honor AFM agreements. But it was the unanimous view of the musicians that the AFM’s recording policies should be more accommodating for a first-time, independent producer.

Origins of the Phonograph Recording Labor Agreement

From 1912 and into the 1940’s, the Hollywood film industry was the subject of antitrust and restraint of trade suits from the federal government. Related negative press worked in the AFM’s favor during this period since musicians largely viewed the recording and film industry as a threat. In 1929 the AFM launched an extensive public relations campaign aimed at swaying opinion against the “dehumanizing entertainment of canned music.” By 1930 the AFM estimated that 22,000 theater jobs for musicians accompanying silent films had been lost to recorded music, while fewer than 200 jobs for musicians performing on soundtracks were created.

Finally in 1942 the AFM took serious action against the recording industry. Musicians who made phonograph records were “playing for their own funerals,” charged AFM President James C. Petrillo, who then called for a ban on all recording by AFM members. The only exceptions would be the making of “Victory Discs” or “V-Discs,” which were created by the War Department to boost the morale of US troops overseas. The recording ban was finally lifted when Decca signed with the AFM in September 1943, Capitol a month later, and finally RCA and Columbia in November of 1944.

By this time the recording industry was anxious to get back to business. The film industry was still under Federal scrutiny for anti-trust violations, so they were looking for an image makeover. Is it possible they agreed to complex and enticing union agreements as a means to maintain their stronghold in the industry? Eager to bargain, they agreed to establish the “Transcription Fund,” which would soon become the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF). The idea behind MPTF was to provide employment for thousands of musicians who were displaced by recordings. But it wasn’t long before many recording musicians viewed MPTF as little more than a payoff to AFM Locals. Is it possible the major labels had foreseen how the well-established system of AFM Locals throughout North America could then wage their trade battles for them, thus insulating them from federal scrutiny?

“Shutting down illegal filmscoring” was a common phrase in the AFM, and we all read about these efforts in the AFM’s International Musician, and sometimes even the local newspaper when there was a good turnout. Surely some of these efforts were justified, but hindsight is 20-20. With the exception of the motion picture and television strike of 1980, all of these actions were against independent producers – not the major labels. Press coverage of musicians claiming unfair treatment while combating questionable, new production companies served the interests of the major labels very well. As the public saw the issue, it was the musicians and the AFM beating on their new competition – not the deeply entrenched industry that was hiding under the perception of innocence.

Somehow I can’t help but to picture the top brass of the major labels gathering to watch this in celebration saying: “here’s a toast to the AFM … solidarity forever.”

One Size Fits All with Jingle Production

In 1982 the AFM, SAG and AFTRA were jointly objecting to the cut-rate recording practices of Tuesday Productions, which was a non-union jingle studio based in San Diego. Tuesday Productions sued AFTRA for antitrust violations and secondary boycott charges, meaning that the unions were wrongly targeting the studio when they should have gone after the producer. Tuesday Productions ultimately won the case, and because of severe secondary boycott laws Tuesday was awarded $10.5 million and AFTRA was forced into bankruptcy.

Fearing similar retaliation, the AFM rightfully backed off and negotiated a special rate for Tuesday productions in an effort to maintain a union presence. But Los Angeles studio musicians strongly objected to the special rate claiming that it would undermine their established scales. AFM President Victor Fuentealba defended the deal stating: “I don’t think that the agreement that was eventually signed adversely affected our negotiations with the industry…and although it was naturally raised by them [management] at certain points in the negotiations, we were able to restrict it in such a fashion that it did not impact on the national agreement. What we did was the best that could be done under the circumstances.”

Nonetheless, this would become the AFM’s last attempt at compromise as the Tuesday deal galvanized LA studio musicians in opposition against AFM involvement in recording negotiations. The Recording Musicians Association (RMA) seized on this momentum ultimately to become accepted as an official player conference at the 1989 AFM Convention. Consequently, RMA now has the power to establish regional and national recording policy, and the AFM president is fortunate to even be present at negotiations.

As it stands today, RMA writes the rules and we’re supposed to enforce them. All of our collective bargaining agreements contain a mandatory clause that states “the employer shall fulfill all conditions required by the appropriate agreement of the AFM.” This little clause would be a wonderful tool to put more money in our members’ pockets IF they had say in the matter, but we don’t have that right. The members of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra believe that AFM policies have to loosen up, but it’s impossible for me to represent that view. I’m pushing my luck to have AFM Symphonic Services bend the rules sufficiently with the Boulder Ballet to allow a videotape of the Sugarplum Fairies as a free keepsake to proud parents.

If it wasn’t fractionalizing the AFM this would be laughable. Imagine the CEO’s of Warner Brothers and Disney watching the Law brothers as they produce their first film, betting 2 to 1 odds that Local 20-623 would perform its rightful duty under AFM bylaws and do everything possible to stop them. I’ll bet they even raised the odds hoping that the Colorado Symphony would follow Seattle’s lead and decertify from the AFM.

Fortunately we didn’t produce the result they hoped for, but it’s only a matter of time before corporate CEO’s gather again to watch another AFM Local fight off their competition. And the best part of this game is that they have no need to fear reprisal from the government as they once did before the Phonograph Record Labor Agreement.

“Another toast…to the RMA”

Note: As of 2002 the Phonograph Record Labor Agreement has been officially renamed the “Sound Recording Labor Agreement.” This is important because it shows that the agreement is changing with the times by recognizing that the phonograph and phonograph records are no longer relevant in the industry.

A Simple Question

March 1st, 1998 No comments

By Pete Vriesenga
Denver Musician, Spring, 1998

How can the AFM accomplish the greatest good for its members and grow into the strong, vibrant organization it needs to be?  Unfortunately, finding an answer to this question is not as easy as it may seem. What is essential to one group of musicians is often meaningless to another. What may provide great benefit for one group of musicians may do little or nothing for another. Interestingly, all of organized labor is facing the very same dilemma, and many unions have managed to find answers. These unions are now leading a welcome resurgence in the labor movement  that should benefit all union efforts if we look to their example. To  study these efforts more closely I recently joined a group of fourteen musicians who attended a weeklong seminar at the George Meany Center for Labor Studies in Silver Springs, Maryland. Owned and operated by the AFL-CIO, the George Meany Center is devoted to labor research, education and training.

At the Meany Center, we learned that there are two manifestations of trade unionism that have taken root in the labor movement over the last century, and as I suspected, these two opposing viewpoints are readily found in the AFM. The following examples will highlight their differences while clearly showing my preference for the latter.

Unions that protect
Many of our members,  even “leaders,” view the AFM as a private club that must focus its energy and efforts exclusively on the needs and benefit of the membership. Some go further to suggest that the AFM’s financial resources should be compartmentalized so that one subset of musicians, i.e. symphonic, recording, etc. does not carry any financial burden of another subset (This was known as “dollar-in-dollar-out” at the last AFM Convention). Already a weak “union” model, they pretend that we can continue to establish scales and working conditions while ignoring a growing, unorganized workforce. They hope that our employers will agree to pay our premium because “we are the professionals,” and pretend that our union will remain strong because the benefits of union membership will be so apparent that nonmembers will be eager to join.

The primary flaw here is underestimating the AFM’s lack of member density. We simply do not represent  enough of the workforce to command this type of influence with the industry. And with increased pressure from global competition, weakened labor laws, union avoidance, complacency and membership decline, a non-union workforce could ultimately dominate our industry. In that event, remaining union musicians may attempt to “circle the wagons” in a futile attempt to protect remaining work agreements, but prevailing wages and working conditions will be established by the employers and musicians who make up the larger, non-union workforce.

Unions that organize
“Organizing” is the new buzzword in the AFL-CIO and is slowly making its way through the ranks of the AFM. But organizing does not simply mean that we show up where musicians work and ask them to join, especially if they are to understand they must now play by our rules. Organizing and recruiting new members means that we must first accept our differences, our strengths and our weaknesses, which  will be further amplified by expanding our membership. But this form of “inclusive” representation is what makes a union strong. And the fundamental principle of unionism – building collective strength while helping others – is most effective when helping those at the bottom. This way the AFM will gain the respect of all working musicians and then command sufficient union density to support the efforts of smaller bargaining units to push upwards.

There are thousands of issues that would unite and strengthen the AFM in a heartbeat, yet we often focus on the few that force disagreement. The diverse group of musicians who  came to the George Meany Center believed that fair compensation, camaraderie, excellence and shared knowledge were the kinds of issues that are most important to professional musicians. Let’s unite behind those issues and avoid our tendencies for pattern agreements and broad policies that only incite disagreement among large segments of our membership.  We then can build the AFM into an organization that  our members, prospective members , and most importantly, the public, will respect and support. This can’t be that difficult.


A Report on the First AFM Seminar at the George Meany Center for Labor Studies

A group of musicians attending a seminar at the AFL-CIO’s George Meany Center for Labor Studies came to study the issues of trade unionism. Following our five-day learning experience, we came together to collect our thoughts ad to reduce to them to writing in order to share them with our colleagues. Hopefully we are now in better position to help strengthen the AFM and have come to believe that organizing musicians and education of our members and leaders is crucial to the survival of our union.
We present these ideas with the hope that we may promote constructive dialogue concerning the future of our union and all working musicians.

1. That there should be one international union that includes all professional musicians, regardless of style, genre, or location of employment. We must organize in order to bring the benefits of union membership and representation to encompass areas under-represented in the past, i.e., jazz, rock, Latin, country-western, and others.
2. That our union should be structured according to the democratic principle of “one musician, one vote.”
3. That both the international body and its subdivisions must be restructured effectively. The union must allocate sufficient resources to organize musicians in their varied workplaces and to represent their interests with employers. We must also build stronger coalitions with organized labor, educational institutions, and in the political arena.
We firmly believe that only by committing our resources to the above ideals will the AFM be able to effectively organize and represent musicians in the 21st century.
We encourage our colleagues and leadership to avail themselves of the educational resources of the AFL-CIO. We invite the active participation of all our friends and allies in achieving the goal of a stronger AFM.

In Attendance:
James Clute, Minnesota Orchestra, Governing Board of ICSOM
Dr. Art Davis, Executive Board, Local 47. Los Angeles
Mary Landolfi, Vice-President, Local 802, New York City
Frank Donaruma, Chairperson, American Ballet Theatre Orchestra Committee
Dennis Mackrel, Local 802 Jazz Advisory Committee
Jimmy Owens, Chairperson. Local 802 Jazz Advisory Committee
Mary Plaine, Chairperson, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Committee, Governing Board of ICSOM
Richard Simon, New York Philharmonic
James Sims, President, Dallas Theater Musicians Association
Blair Tindall, Broadway Theater Musicians Committee
David Titcomb, Chairperson, NYC Opera Orchestra Committee
Peter Vriesenga, President, Denver Musicians Association, Local 20-623
Sharon Yamada, NY Philharmonic Orchestra Committee

Categories: Labor, The Denver Musician Tags:

Association or Union – A Century-Old Dispute Over Representatioin

January 1st, 1997 No comments

By Pete Vriesenga
Denver Musician, Jan-March, 1997

Who should the American Federation of Musicians represent? A fair question as we celebrate the centennial of the Denver Musicians Association, and especially in light of the growing movement to restructure the AFM. The AFM devotes careful attention to musicians working in full-time orchestras, recording, theater, touring, etc., as these musicians generally work under union agreements and pay a large share of work dues that support the operation of the AFM. But this arrangement is flawed, because it compromises alliances with all professional musicians. This is a problem that was evident at the inception of the AFM, and must be resolved if the organization is to survive.

Until the late 19th Century, musicians were often regarded as rogues, misfits and frivolous entertainers. Early attempts to improve their conditions began around 1857-60, when musicians in Baltimore, Chicago and New York formed into local protective societies. While not very effective at improving wages and working conditions for musicians, these organizations provided fraternal services such as indigent care and respectable funeral services for their members.

In 1885 the National League of Musicians was established. Although desperate to improve their working conditions, NLM members were divided over the issue of representation. United effort that would have brought vast improvement for the majority was halted over the very question musicians are still asking a century later: Are we a trade union similar to those of carpenters and printers, or are we an Association, similar to organizations representing doctors and lawyers? Primary differences are that labor unions establish collective demands from a broad body of members, and associations use their exclusivity as a basis for establishing rates.

The rising American Federation of Labor was determined to include musicians in its ranks, but divide opinion within the National League of Musicians – trade or professional? – delayed a decision by the musicians themselves. Taking the matter into its own hands, the AFL began chartering Locals for the musicians, and in 1896, at a convention in Indianapolis arranged by the AFL, formed the American Federation of Musicians.

Because of the initiative of organized labor, musicians were now included in the growing popular support for fair wages and acceptable working conditions. Musicians’ working conditions improved as the AFL continued to advance issues of child labor, safety, job security and medical leave. These hard-won victories of Organized Labor brought about the wage and job protections that today’s musicians often take for granted.

The argument over representation that stalled the founding of the AFM is now threatening its existence with a dramatic loss of membership. Boasting 302,000 members in 1970, the AFM currently represents only 119,000 members, equivalent to AFM membership totals in 1925. Why is this happening? The 1991 and 1993 AFM Conventions approved substantial per-capita increases resulting in higher dues payments. Many have cited this action for a recent membership decline, but the larger issue appears to be representation.

Many of the  musicians leaving the AFM are working for substandard wages, are given little respect from their employers, or find themselves performing for “exposure” with publicly-funded arts organizations. These musicians need representation just as much as musicians who work full time. Musicians performing in a symphony orchestra with a large operating budget and endowment, or musicians who record high-budget film scores have substantially more leverage to negotiate a fair agreement. Those who enjoy this degree of bargaining leverage should find comfort and assurance just by knowing that all AFM members support their efforts to raise industry standards, and will refuse to cross a picket line in the event of a strike.

It is imperative that the concerns of these few musicians do not burden those who are merely trying to put food on the table. It is wrong to suggest that struggling musicians are at fault because they cannot demand rates or agreements that are proven effective for only a very small percentage of the membership.

To equitably resolve this dilemma, musicians employed in symphonic work or recording are encouraged to join Players Conferences (Associations), which are organized to establish and maintain standards for their members. Players Conferences such as the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) and the Recording Musicians Association (RMA) effectively represent the interests of these musicians, and have become a powerful voice at AFM Conventions. The AFM and Locals such as the DMA, should preserve a balance of representation for musicians who do not fall into these categories.

The RMA maintains that firm national recording rates are essential to protect the interests of recording musicians. RMA’s responsibilities include direct involvement in recording industry negotiations for their 2,500 members; however, final ratification of agreements is then subject to a vote of all musicians who performed on AFM contract sessions and earn above an established minimum threshold of recording work.

And yet, the concerns of Colorado musicians are not fully represented in these negotiations because so few local recording engagements are under AFM contracts, and usually because of the inflexible terms of national agreements. Also, the fact the only four RMA members are also members of the Denver Local (two of the four live and work in Los Angeles), limits effective representation of local musicians. Otherwise, local considerations such as cost of living, size of budget, and marketability of the recording would be more visible at the bargaining table.

A few positive changes have already begun with the introduction of the AFM Limited Pressings Agreement, Low Budget Phonograph Recording, and Low Budget Motion Pictures Agreement. These new agreements have been well received, but their use is very restricted because some musicians fear a ‘race to the bottom’ if price controls are loosened further. But outsourcing began years ago; filmscores are often recorded by less costly foreign orchestras, and producers frequently opt for synthesized soundtracks.

A recent contract between a local producer and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, to record the soundtrack for the new film Warriors of Virtue, has been the subject of this very issue. The producer would not sign an AFM recording agreement that would tie approximately 1% of gross sales to the Special Payments Fund (residual payments to the musicians). Bending the rules is not accepted practice with national recording agreements, and AFM Symphonic Services would like for the musicians to have refused to play without a signatory agreement. But this would have displayed poor judgement; a relationship with a new local producer would have been ruined, and this project would only have gone to a non-union orchestra.

Musicians must also question if nationally negotiated agreements have produced the best results. Bitter negotiations for a new three-year Phonograph Labor Agreement finally concluded January 31, 1996. Industry representatives presented a hard-line stance that included elimination of the Recording Industries’ Music Performance Trust Fund, even though MPTF allocations are computed on only 0.20475% of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price on sales in excess of 25,000 units. Fortunately, MPTF Trustee John Hall’s efforts to show that MPTF effectively builds audiences through contemporary programming and educational concerts temporarily saved the program.

It’s possible that the Denver Musicians Association, with the freedom to negotiate, could foster relationships with new producers that may be supportive of MPTF. The fact that in one year, the DMA has increased MPTF-sponsored school concerts by 61% may convince a producer to work more closely with us (This was accomplished despite a 17% reduction in the DMA’s MPTF allocation the same year). AFM Locals nationwide could display a polished MPTF program that may convince the recording industry to assume a greater responsibility and investment in music education. Considering the Recording Industries’ current goal is to eliminate MPTF, it is apparent that proper arguments are not being made.

The power of the AFM lies within the membership and Locals, provided union representation remains focused on the needs of the majority. Its was a local effort that successfully negotiated a new agreement with Denver Center Attractions, providing a 70% increase in wages and benefits. This effort led to a further review of all scales, implementation of the AFM-EPF pension fund, and more occurrences of collective bargaining. These changes did not come about by decree from the DMA or AFM office, or through existing documents that mandate compensation. This was collective effort in its most effective, representative form – a labor union.

Categories: Labor, The Denver Musician Tags: