Sunday, June 17, 2007

Official Union Publications?

All AFM Local Unions received a letter dated June 7, 2007 from the AFM's lawyers about Local Union Newsletters. It was good of the lawyers to personally inform us and give their email addresses for questions (but then again, the AFM pays almost $900,000 a year to these lawyers, so one should expect such service).

The letter noted that it is unlawful for any "official union include any editorial or article that could reasonably be construed as endorsing a particular candidate or supporting that individual's candidacy." It cites § 401(g) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.

It appears that there is no such thing as § 401(g) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. However, sifting through some more of the lengthy Code, I located § 481(g). This must have been what the lawyers were talking about.

The law itself uses different language than the letter. For instance, the law doesn't mention "official union publications." The law basically says that union receipts (dues, etc.) may not be used to promote a person's candidacy. Perhaps a court or administrative decision further interpreting the law (which was not provided or cited in the letter) would provide some guidance.

Incidentally, did anyone send a copy of the lawyers' letter to Tom Lee? His "response to Variety" which he publicized so vigorously in a letter (April 26, 2007) to all Locals on AFM letterhead, as well as an article in the International Musician (June 2007), says that the leadership of Local 47 "...turned its back on the rest of the community of musicians in the United States and Canada..."

Does he mean Hal? Is he endorsing his own candidacy by publishing and republishing this letter through official AFM channels?

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