Saturday, December 13, 2008

Breaking AFM News-Nashville, LA, FMSMF, SRSPF and the IEB

It's Official. Dave Pomeroy crushes Harold Bradley in the Local 257 Nasville Election. Pomeroy's running mate, Craig Krampf
defeats Billy Linneman for Secretary/Treasure and Nashville gets a new Board of Directors. Both Bradley and Linneman are on the IEB and are two of Tom's of attack dogs/cronies-constantly berating Los Angeles and Nashville AFM recording musicians. So now, Bradley and Linneman have no constituency-period. Wanna' bet Lee fights and lies to keep his boys on the IEB? God forbid that Lee would replace them with the actual officers from Nashville and Los Angeles.

Its Official-Tom Lee, the IEB and the AFM will not be getting a Centavo from the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund. Lee just informed the IEB in a conference call. So much for AFM counsel Jeff Freund's "guarantee" and "it's a slam dunk" to Tom and the IEB that they would prevail. So now, recording musicians who have paid the SRSPF (sound recording special payments) bogus work dues are beginning to call the AFM and ask for their money back, as they should. The AFM is in a box. A decision by the Alliance (AMPTP) not to allow the the Motion Picture Fund to cooperate with the AFM and new bylaw directly challenges the legality of the entire bylaw and the bogus work dues it mandates. If the AFM can't collect from film musicians, how in the hell can they collect from record musicians?. If the AFM does not refund the sound recording money immediately, we certainly hope there is another lawsuit ASAP.

It's Official - Vince Trombetta's entire slate wins big in Los Angeles. Chuck Fernandez (the pompous jackass who IS the Committee of all CAPS) and Bobby Rodriguez, a Local 47 Director - both of them Lee's guys in LA - were thrashed.

It's Official-Hal Espinosa has been removed by Tom as a Trustee on the Pension Fund. Tom's states in a letter his reasons - "you're no longer the President of Local 47". Melinda Wagner, a current Pension Fund Trustee, does not hold an AFM or local office as has not for years - let just see what Tom does with buddy Harold Bradley, who has not attended a pension fund meeting in 20 months (during the worst financial crisis since the 20's) and now officially represents no one but himself. (Bradley as a pension fund trustee was a sham from the beginning). Welcome to your AFM representation - at it worst.

So today, the IEB and the AFM Pension Fund have no officer representation of any kind from LA. (Phillip Yao, though from LA, was appointed as an at-large pension trustee). So for the FIRST TIME IN AFM history, LA, a local with 8,000 plus members, 10% of the AFM's TOTAL membership and who also provides about one-third (33%) of the ENTIRE Federation bankroll is completely unrepresented within the AFM hierarchy. Why in the world should LA remain a part of the AFM at all-would you? What's the point? If your Local contributes millions to your national union and they just keep taking your money, spending thousands constantly attacking your Local musician members and officers and in effect denying that you even officially exist, why in the blazes would you or should you stay around and take more punishment. John Sweeney, are you listening?

It was a very bad week for the Lee machine, and a good week for us musicians, (except for Espinosa). Like Joe McCarthy and Petrillo before him, the wheels are falling off Tom's corrupt machine, the lies are being exposed daily to the entire AFM, lawsuits are in progress and are being filed and - the money is being shut off. More to come...


Hart Golding said...

This is a masterful summary of all that has been going on - the war to destroy the career recording musicians of the AFM. Pres. Thomas Lee shares all the traits seen in the common sociopath. One can only wonder when these symptoms will finally be recognized by the other (so-far silent) members of the IEB. Dumb and happy won't cut it when there is no AFM left. If no-one at the AFM can see what is going on, the union is doomed - quite soon.

Meanwhile, the great AFM leader continues to squander the members' money with his manipulative letters to recording musicians denouncing the very people and issues they believe in. He's not winning any friends, but he is spending money that he doesn't have! And the IEB is still sitting back doing NOTHING, while apparently seeing NOTHING. How can so many people be so blind, or it it that they, too, don't care a hoot either about what happens to their 'beloved' union? Just nail those so-called 'rich' musicians.

So there it is. One man, I repeat, ONE MAN, has brought this once proud and brotherly organization the the brink. Member pitted against member; the spirit of unionism in all its glory. When will some others, who are in a position to do something about it, finally take the reins away from the despot?

Antony Cooke said...

So the fit has hit the sham. Tom Lee take notice; the writing is on the wall. With one fell swoop, Nashville has shown that the nation’s recording centers aren’t going to keep taking the kind of malignant bullying and buffoonery that has been the hallmark of the AFM since the dawn of the present administration. Future delegates to the AFM should also clearly understand that it’s unacceptable for any of the nation’s major working centers to be unrepresented on the IEB. Los Angles Local 47, the largest AFM Local and busiest recording center, remains completely absent! One might also easily conclude that Nashville hadn’t had such a representative in years, too, judging by the inept and out-of-touch representatives they just threw out. Meanwhile, the AFM sees the members from these Locals merely as a vault from which to draw money, until such time as they can be destroyed completely. Nashville has stood up and loudly declared that enough is enough! And they showed that the union can indeed be changed, despite a carefully contrived political structure that attempts to preclude it. If you have any doubts about this sentiment, just attend an AFM Convention.

To the AFM: you cannot subject full-time working musicians to continued maligning, assaults on the contracts under which they depend for their livelihoods, devising new ways to confiscate increasing portions of their earnings, all while telling the rest of the membership what a burden the ‘greedy’ working musicians are to them. Without the full-time working musician, be it those involved in recording or symphony work, there will be no AFM as we know it. Perhaps Mr. Lee would be more comfortable representing a union of hobbyists, but this will not pay the bills. You simply cannot sustain union life by attacking those who support you, while demanding ever more from them and debasing their contracts. This is especially true if you preside over a period where AFM membership has been in radical decline, such as has been accelerating under Mr. Lee’s tenure. Printing a bilingual (English/French!?) ‘International Musician’ will do nothing to build your membership. And writing countless stupid, disingenuous letters to the very musicians you are attacking, Mr. Lee, will also do nothing to bring them ‘on board’.

Nashville has taken the boldest step imaginable. Kudos to them! This is just the beginning.