Spring Forth: A Note From The President
Posted Date: March 31 2023From the March 31st, 2023 issue of Austin Musician, Newsletter of The Austin Federation of Musicians
Siblings, Sisters, and Brothers,
Worker Power is on the rise and Musician Power is no exception. As corporate greed is exposed, workers are realizing that their power has been with them all along. Musicians are once again learning to flex our collective muscle, rather than allowing our employers to divide us.
The events at the South By South West Music Festival this month have shown that local musicians are not alone in the fight for Fair Pay. All Local 433 musicians have felt the damage done to our local music labor market every year by the effects of The Festival and the inadequate compensation paid to musicians. From wage stagnation to noise ordinance closures that remain long after the festival has packed up, the local economy for musicians is abused every year. Musicians traveling in for the festival have stood with local musicians for the first time this year in demanding change. The UMAW advocacy group (Union of Musicians and Allied Workers), though not a labor union, is gathering support from musicians nationally and internationally to affect change. Bandcamp United is the labor union of workers for Bandcamp.com, the popular digital music distribution platform that delivers a higher percentage of revenue to musicians than most other platforms. These groups along with The Austin Central Labor Council and City Council Officials stood with Local 433 Musicians at the Fair Pay At SXSW Rally on March 16th, 2023, outside of the Austin Convention Center. See the article later in this issue for more information.
Our AFM & Employers Pension Fund has made the first scheduled step toward gaining the support that was legislated in the long-fought-for Pension Reform Act which became part of The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 due to the organizational and lobbying efforts of AFM Members in concert with other union members from across the country. This support will allow our Pension Fund to thrive while paying all benefits in full for the next thirty years, during which time the fund will become robust and capable in a way that has not been seen in this century.
The American Music Fairness Act is a non-partisan bill that is still moving ahead in the divided US Congress thanks to the AFM TEMPO Fund and the Music First Coalition. This legislation will finally correct the missing performance royalties for music played on terrestrial radio in the United States. All other developed nations already require this royalty to be paid.
The Local 433 Office is seeing increased use of Local Engagement contracts which are the window to job security, pension, cartage, mileage, improved working conditions and protections against unauthorized recordings. Any single performance can be secured by this easy-to-use contract. You can even do it on your phone! Come by The Office to find out how!
As the Texas heat returns to our area, let’s turn up the heat on our organizing efforts to gain respect, dignity, better wages and safer working conditions in the work that we have dedicated our lives to. I look forward to seeing you on stage and at the Meeting Hall soon.
Aaron Lack, President
AFM Local 433