[Dixielandjazz] [!! SPAM] Re: FW: Musician's Club

Robert S. Ringwald robert at ringwald.com
Mon Nov 5 18:11:06 PST 2007

Phil Wilking wrote:

> I am an AFM member, more to endorse trade unionism than in any real hope
> of getting work through the local. I went to another local AFM meeting a
> few weeks ago and once again heard the same old complaints: ever fewer
> venues, ever lower wages, no respect, how the so-called "jazz" festivals
> have very little jazz and little of that little is by local musicians,
> etc.
> I finally couldn't stand it any more and stood up to speak. I pointed to
> the sign on the wall and reminded everybody that it reads "UNION," and
> that that has meaning. I reminded them that the local could jump through
> all the hoops with National to start a job action and throw up a picket
> line which Teamsters Union and stage hands' union members shouldn't cross
> (no deliveries [no beer at a festival?!?!?!], no stage setups) and so on.
> So there is something which could be done to remedy the problems if the
> complainers are willing to put out the effort. (I didn't phrase it quite
> that way, maybe I should have.)

Phil, that was the way it was in the 1950s and '60s.  But gradually the
musician's union power went away.

Sure, the musicians at that meeting could try to do something.  But if the 
other unions will not back up the musician's union and if the musician's 
union itself is powerless to do anything about the bands that will work for 
nothing, or even in some cases, pay to play, then there is nothing that can 
be done.

Things may have changed in the past 10 years since I dropped out after being
a member for 40 years.

The last time I heard, it was illegal for other unions to honor the 
picket line.  It was called a secondary boycott, or something such as that. 
It has been quite a while so I can't remember the details.

 After the union did away with our promised lifetime membership, life 
and did absolutely nothing for the working musician while raising our dues,
I had no choice but to drop out.

I worked as a union member for 22 years in Sacramento before moving to Los 
Angeles.  In LA I had a retirement plan.  Sacramento never had one.  Or if 
there was one available through the AFM, they never told me about it.

 I belonged to local 12 Sacramento for 40 years and local 47 Los Angeles for

The only thing the unions are interested in now is the recording industry.
That includes the music for film and TV.

--Bob Ringwald

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