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

Larry Walton Entertainment - St. Louis larrys.bands at charter.net
Tue Nov 6 10:17:43 PST 2007

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

LW--The local here would not enforce their own rules (60's) within their 
jurisdiction even to the small effort of a telephone call or letter.  Other 
unions would not insist on union musicians in their halls.   I asked them to 
write or call the Brewer's union and complain about non-union bands playing 
in the Brewer's union hall.  The only two union hall venues that actually 
enforced the union limitation was the Carpenter's and Electrician's union 
halls.  The Electrician's because it was next door to the Musician's Local 
building and the Carpenter's because the bands paid kickbacks.  All the 
others allowed non union bands.

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.

LW -- Everyone is out for themselves including the locals.  Members of 
individual unions do not hire nor are they encouraged to hire union people 
in any trade.  At one time if you stepped out of this box your own card was 
in jeopardy.
Things may have changed in the past 10 years since I dropped out after being
a member for 40 years.

LW-- Nope

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.

LW-- That may be true but what about individual union members acting as 
individuals not crossing picket lines or doing business with non union 
businesses such as barbers and trade people.  They universally say forget 
that.  This band, barber or plumber is cheaper.  This is to the point that 
union people just have a hard time competing.

 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.

LW-- Many musicians have done this and I don't blame a one of them.  It's 
almost impossible to compete following all the rules and the sad thing is 
that no one cares.

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

LW -- What may have happened in moving from one local to the other is that 
you had aged out of the insurance / benefits plan for the local you had 
moved into.  Here if you join the local past a certain age you are not 
eligible for benefits like insurance.  It may also count for transfer 
people.  I don't know if that was the case but could be.
The only thing the unions are interested in now is the recording industry.
That includes the music for film and TV.

LW -- the locals and I might add everyone else gravitates to where the money 
is and best still where they can get at it.  Chasing you or me around for 
work dues just isn't cost effective but threatening to sue someone and then 
them raining money down on you forever sounds like the best plan.  That's 
why they go after the recording industry.

Nothing has really changed.  The small potatoes guy out there making a 
living is of little or no interest to the big guys.  Doing anything about 
them good or bad just isn't cost effective unless they want to make an 
example of someone to whip the rest in line.  Then it pays.

I still pay my dues in the local but I think of it more as a charity.  They 
have done nothing for me since the Shrine circus went non union about 10 
years ago.  Some of that is my own fault because I don't sit on their 
doorstep and bug them but that just isn't cost effective for me.  This may 
be my last year in the local too.
St. Louis

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