[Dixielandjazz] Summer days on the DJML and the AFM

Dave Hanson jazzdude at bellsouth.net
Thu Jul 15 10:03:41 PDT 2004

Bill Gunter claims that my inquiry probably isn't interesting ? Perhaps not
? Then I wonder why he bothered to reply, since we are all at the mountains,
gardening, hiking, fishing or maybe looking for a gig ?

The Unions have lost membership as most feel that the locals don't serve
their needs, and stories abound like the one Mr. Gunter has told us, but
members need to get INVOLVED with their local, if they are a member. Attend
meetings, vote on the issues, eliminate the deadwood officers and try to
make a difference. The Union is only as strong as it's weakest member. It's
the people that make up the Union that makes it work, not the building, the
Board or officers, THE MEMBERS !

The musicians union isn't for everyone, but the pension plan is the best
kept secret in the world, so being a member for that reason alone is worth
the price of admission !

Dave Hanson
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bill Gunter" <jazzboard at hotmail.com>
To: <Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 12:44 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Summer days on the DJML and the AFM

> Hi listmates,
> I've also notice a diminution in DJML postings. Referring to this, Dave
> Hanson writes:
> >The lack of email from this august body indicates to me that we don't
> >any interesting topics to discuss. Perhaps this might be . . .
> And, on the other hand, perhaps not. I've notice this before in the depths
> of summer. Outdoor activites tend to take over. A trip to the mountains,
> gardening, fishing, hiking etc. etc. etc. tend to take precedence over the
> daily routine of sitting hunched over a damn keyboard writing who knows
> to the DJML.
> I'll attribute the dearth of postings to summer doldrums rather than a
> of interesting topics.
> But Dave Gravatt did respond with a provacative question on the good and
> aspects of the Musicians' Union.
> Over the time I have been gigging I've noticed the clout of the Union
> diminished to the point where a once fairly powerful force has been
> to a relatively weak one.
> Once organizations get established and a hierarchy is installed the
> organization can fall prey to the bureaucratic phenomenon and then it's
> for a bit of curruption to sneak in and those in power may be tempted to
> the organization for their own purposes.
> Case in point: A dance band I know of belonged to an AFM chapter.
> leader, sidemen -- everyone. They sort of had an understanding that, being
> staunch union supporters, they would get a fair share of gigs when clients
> phoned the union to recommend a band for some event they were planning. It
> became apparent to the band members after a while that NO gigs were coming
> from such sources.
> The bandleader had his wife phone the union office and, posing as a client
> looking for a particular sort of dance band, one that played all the old
> standards, asked if they could recommend someone.
> The Union agent said that they could and proceded to recommend a band that
> just happened to be led by the president of the chapter. The bandleader's
> wife then said something to the effect that she had heard of a band named
> (she mentioned her husband's band at this point) and did the Union agent
> know about them. The agent said that band was not too bad, but that the
> she really wanted to book was the better band (the one led by the Union
> president).
> The leader's wife, being steered away from her husband's band and directed
> to the Union guy's band, said "Thank you for the information and hung up."
> She related the experience to her husband and the band and they all got
> totally pissed off and resigned their union membership en masse . . .
> one of them!
> Brings a tear to your eye, doesn't it?
> I certainly don't mean to imply that all local chapters are corrupt, but
> what do you know about the leadership of your local and what is their
> when it comes to supporting the efforts of the musician members.
> What do you suppose the percentage of working musicians (those that gig on
> fairly regular basis) who belong to the AFM is compared to the total
> of musicians? I don't know the answer but I would hazard a guess that it
> relatively small as compared to 40 years ago.
> Anyone have any information on that?
> Respectfully submitted,
> Bill "Some of my best friends are union members" Gunter
> jazzboard at hotmail.com
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