Thursday, November 29, 2007

Now Hear This

Vice-President Bradley may resign, and the IEB may move Sam Folio over to fill the position. Lew Mancini will probably be moved over to the office of Secretary-Treasurer.

Of course, the appointments are temporary (until the next Convention in 2010). But at two and a half years, they'll last longer than the last term of President Lee himself (2005-2007).

The chess game continues.

UPDATE 12/12/07: Billy Linneman, Secretary-Treasurer of VP Bradley's Local, 257 in Nashville, is another name we're hearing to replace Sam Folio as Secretary-Treasurer. Lew Mancini, to his credit, seems reluctant to become a political figure.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

More Thoughts on the Don't-Get-Involved AFM

Thanks to Matt Plummer for his comment on The Don't-Get-Involved AFM:

...[E]ven if you argue we lowered our standards too much for the new videogame agreements, it's a decidedly different issue.

The AFM is mostly organizing work that has been non-union or non-existent in the past, while the screenwriters' guild is negotiating rates on work that has always been union work.

Although videogame agreements have been non-union or nonexistent in the past, this field of work is still within the framework of the "music business." The AFM's one-page contract has none of the traditional benefits of organizing attached. It washes away all long-standing principles of what the professional musician expects in return for her expertise as an artist.

When videogames became part of the music business the AFM should have been involved initially, but we were finessed by others. Now, the one-page contract, with nothing on the table but a flat hourly wage, is the future of the videogame marketplace.

Currently, neither the WGA nor the AFM has any strictly legal "right" to residuals. The WGA and the AFM are in the same boat. But the WGA is on strike for the principle of residuals for its artists. Compare this to our AFM. While residuals fill the bank accounts of Sony and others, and the few dollars paid to the musician disappears into oblivion, the AFM does nothing to protect its artists' expectations.

The WGA is fighting to protect the artist's expectation of residuals, while the AFM doesn't get involved.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Don't-Get-Involved AFM

As reported by the New York Times, every relevant union connected to the arts (including the Teamsters) has taken a positive stand in unequivocal support for the Writers Guild of America. Contrast this with the recent press release from President Lee's office. "Support the WGA or not...we don't care which, it's up to you," it says.

Perhaps the reason the AFM has taken no stand is because it itself has bargained away back-end payments along with other traditional benefits by adopting the recent "one-off" video game agreements. This so-called "negotiation" has yielded a one-page agreement relinquishing the prized back-end payments to Sony, Electronic Arts, and Ubisoft.

"We are taking a stand for the next 20 years," said one writer on the picket line. What stand has the AFM taken?