Musicians Satirize Lionsgate’s Offshoring Practices in ‘Right Here at the Top’

Musicians Satirize Lionsgate's Offshoring Practices in 'Right Here at the Top'

Members of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) wrote a song satirizing the film company Lions Gate Entertainment (Lionsgate) for placing profits ahead of people by outsourcing jobs in the production of its movies. AFM is calling on Lionsgate to stop offshoring musicians’ jobs and live up to the standards maintained by other movie companies.

The song says: “We’re outsourcing workers, we don’t want to stop. We’re concentrating profits right here at the top!” CEO Jon Feltheimer is being paid $66.3 million in total compensation in 2014, 400% more than he was paid in 2013. The company has received $82 million this year while continuing to send musicians’ jobs overseas.

Listen to the song now:

The song was composed by Clifford J. Tasner and recorded by AFM members. Learn more at listenupnow.org.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tell Lionsgate It Has the Score Wrong. Stop Sending Musicians’ Jobs Overseas

Tell Lionsgate It Has the Score Wrong. Stop Sending Musicians’ Jobs Overseas

One of the most iconic American symbols is the National Football League. This week Lionsgate Entertainment is releasing a movie about what is probably the second most popular day for football fans after the Super Bowl—“Draft Day.” But Lionsgate did something decidedly un-American for this film. It shipped American musicians’ jobs overseas—to Macedonia.

It’s not the first time Lionsgate has ignored movie industry standards by shutting out American musicians and recording scores overseas. “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight” are two more recent examples. In fact, over the last two years, only two of the dozens of films the company’s produced were scored to industry standards domestically.

Professional musicians are standing up with their union, the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM), by launching a campaign to tell Lionsgate to “Listen Up!” and uphold industry standards, and guarantee proper wages and working conditions on all of its productions.

AFM President Ray Hair said:

Music can make or break a movie. Imagine “Indiana Jones” without its iconic theme music or the tension created by the music in “Jaws.” It’s the soul of any film. But some film production companies, like Lionsgate Entertainment, are putting that in danger (by) making it a practice to offshore musicians’ jobs to increase its already massive profits and, in the process, undermine industry standards that have created some of the most famous movie musical scores.

Hair points out that Lionsgate is getting millions in tax credits every year from states across the country, then sending jobs overseas. For “Draft Day,” Lionsgate took $5 million from Ohio taxpayers for the film, then offshored all of the film’s musical score to a Macedonian company—and pocketed anything that was left over. Said Hair:

Lionsgate is squeezing every dollar out of the music community and undermining local musicians’ economic ability to teach and develop the next generation of domestic professional musicians.

Sign the petition to tell the company to stop sending musicians’ jobs overseas, to uphold accepted industry standards, and guarantee proper wages and working conditions for musicians on all of its productions.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

Tags: , , , ,

Union Members Play Big Part in Super Bowl Game Plan

Sunday is the first outdoor, cold weather site Super Bowl in the game’s 48-year history. The frigid weather in the weeks leading up to the game and expected temps in the 20s and 30s won’t stop the thousands of union members who are bringing you the game. On the scene at MetLife Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands or behind the scenes at many facilities in the Metro New York-New Jersey area, union members are making the nation’s national party day possible.

So, as a preview before you sit back, open a beverage and eat far too many snacks that are far from healthy, we introduce Sunday’s starting union lineup.

Of course, on the field, the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos players are members of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), and the men in the striped shirts are members of the NFL Referees Association.

The announcers, camera operators, technicians, field workers and other hardworking folks bringing the game to your flat-screened football cave or favorite Broncos or Seahawks bar include members of SAG-AFTRA, Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA (NABET-CWA), Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Laborers (LIUNA).

The annual over-the-top halftime show is a down-to-the-second, choreographed, on-the-field, off-the-field 12-minute extravaganza made possible by the skills of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) and other performing artists. Anyone who takes in a show in the city likely will enjoy the talents of Actors’ Equity (AEA).

For the fans who head for the concessions, their hot dogs will be served and their beer will be drawn by men and women from UNITE HERE Local 100.

Away from the stadium, union members are making an impact, too. Folks taking the area’s huge mass transit system are being safely delivered to their destinations by members of the Transport Workers (TWU), Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and United Transportation Union (UTU).

A large number of the area’s hotels are staffed by members of unions of the New York Hotel Trades Council. Many of the firefighters, emergency medical personnel and other public service workers who are ensuring a safe and efficient Super Bowl week are members of the Fire Fighters (IAFF) and AFSCME.

Of course, the fans who flew in for the big game got there safely, thanks to aviation workers from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), Air Line Pilots (ALPA), Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), Transport Workers (TWU) and Machinists (IAM).

Also, a big thanks to AFT and NFLPA for raising awareness about human trafficking during large sports events such as the Super Bowl.

Image via @northjerseybrk on Twitter

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

And the Grammy Goes to…the Minnesota Orchestra

During the 16 months the Minnesota Orchestra was locked out, it was often described as one of the best orchestra’s in the world. Sunday night, a little more than two weeks after the orchestra’s musicians—members American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM)—ratified a new agreement ending the lockout, the Minnesota Orchestra’s reputation as one of the world’s best was cemented with a Grammy award.

Facing competition from major orchestras around the world, including the Los Angeles and the Berlin philharmonics, the Minnesota Orchestra took the Grammy award for Best Orchestral Performance for its recording of “Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4,” conducted by Osmo Vänskä.

Principal cellist Tony Ross told the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

We’re all thrilled….It’s very difficult to win as a Midwestern orchestra. Most of the voters live in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Nashville. This [win] was for orchestral performance—it’s about quality onstage.

In a statement on the Minnesota Musicians website, Ross said:

The winning of a Grammy award for Best Orchestral Performance confirms where the Musicians and our leader Osmo Vänskä were as a symphony orchestra before the lockout. We were a great orchestra enjoying a special relationship with our music director, Osmo Vänskä, that brought worldwide acclaim to Minnesota. This is also why we need him to return and carry on with the projects and partnership that have brought this orchestra to great heights. We know this community deserves an orchestra of that level of distinction.

During the lockout, the musicians organized several area concerts that drew large crowds of supporters. One of the concerts included Vänskä, who spoke out against the lockout and who resigned in October as the lockout by orchestra management entered its second year. Because of the musicians’ community outreach and concerts, they received an outpouring of support from the local community and throughout the state and across the nation.

The recordings were made in May and June of 2012 and the lockout began in October 2012. The new agreement takes effect Feb. 1, and the orchestra will return to the stage beginning Feb. 7.

In other Grammy news, the band La Santa Cecilia that performed for delegates at the recent AFL-CIO Convention in Los Angeles received the Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album Grammy award for its “Treinta Días. The Los Angeles-based Mexican American band was named for Santa Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians.

Click here for a full list of winners; and don’t forget that along with the AFM members who took home Grammy awards, the musicians, dancers, stage and technical crews who made last night’s broadcast possible are highly skilled workers represented by several unions, including Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE),Dancers’ Alliance, National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians–Communications Workers of America (NABET-CWA), SAG-AFTRA and others.

Photo from Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra on Facebook

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Minnesota Orchestra Members Ratify New Deal to End Lockout

Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra will be back onstage soon after they and the orchestra board of directors have ratified a new collective bargaining agreement that will end the nearly 16-month lockout of the musicians. The agreement takes effect Feb. 1 and performances are expected to begin later that month.

The musicians are members of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) and were locked out by the board in October 2012. In a statement posted today on the musicians’ website, Tim Zavadil, clarinetist and negotiator, says:

The Musicians are pleased that we have come to a solution with our board, and we are ready to begin the hard work that lies ahead together. We are eager to perform for our community at home in Orchestra Hall once again. We have seen firsthand the deep love for this orchestra, and we are confident that this community will, in fact, continue to support a world-class symphony orchestra.

The board had originally sought to cut salaries by 30% or more. While the new agreement cuts salaries, the statement says:

Keeping salaries in the top ten was a critical issue as it allows the orchestra to attract and retain the finest musicians in the country, building on the tradition of excellence that has been cultivated by the community over many generations. The agreement achieves this priority.

During the course of the lockout, the musicians received an out pouring of support from the local community and throughout the state and across the nation.

The Musicians thank each and every individual and organization that has supported maintaining a great orchestra for Minnesota over the past 16 months. We have been strong because of you and we will need your continuing strength and passionate voices as we move forward together. We are excited to work with you, our engaged community partners, as we re-vitalize the Minnesota Orchestra.

In the several years before the lockout, the Minnesota Orchestra was drawing high praise as one of the best in the nation and abroad in 2010, Alex Ross, The New Yorker’s music critic, called the Minnesota Orchestra “the greatest orchestra in the world.”

Read the full statement and more from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

Tags: , , , , , , ,