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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000665.txt from 1996/04

From: Fred Jacobowitz <fredj@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: the union
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 16:25:36 -0400

Since when was Union scale a maximum salary??? It has always been
the minimum and musicians were always encouraged to bargain for more. As
for the local Union undercutting the LA rates, that's a function of the
higher cost of living (and thus, of doing business) in LA. This was a
classic example of a screw-up by the union in not addressing the issue of
one local taking business away from another local. It should have been
handled very differently. You are very lucky that you feel secure in
geting paid and controlling your working conditions. Many in other
locales do not. This is why we still support a Union. One does not negate
the other, as you imply.

Fred Jacobowitz

On Mon, 22 Apr 1996, eric nelson wrote:

> Regarding the musician's union A.F.M., things are interesting here in
> Utah. It seems that at one time, the union was very strong here,
> particularly in the Salt Lake City area and among symphony and show
> players. In fact, I joined the union just to have priority among those
> called for substitute gigs. At the time, a union service was paying
> $67.50. At the same time, I was playing non-union rock and jazz gigs for
> at least double that amount. Then some of the movie and TV contractors
> "discovered" salt lake city, and began contracting recording work here,
> using primarily Utah Symphony musicians. They were able to get these
> people for less than half the hourly rate paid L.A. studio people, and they
> were just as happy with the results. These sessions were, of course,
> non-union, and the union members doing it were breaking their own rules,
> but the money was too good for most of them to turn down ($45-50 per hour).
> The union got wind of this, and sent some spies into the studio w/ cameras
> to try to determine who was outside the lines. There was a major scene,
> and over half of the Ut Symphony quit the union, and the union has very
> little influence here now. I also quit, and have seen no difference in
> number and payment of gigs. In fact, the scene is better now. There are
> many working, professional non-union musicians around, and at least here,
> membership in the union is not a criterium for being invited to an
> audition. And union scale continues to be half or less than half of what I
> usually get for a country club or convention casual. Will the union again
> become valid here? who knows??
> e
> eric nelson
> lightwood duo

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