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

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Hip-Hop Star Common to Perform in Support of Nissan Workers

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Hip-hop star Common, famous for songs like “I Used to Love H.E.R.” and acting roles such as “Terminator Salvation” and “Happy Feet Too,” is performing as part of a free show in support of workers who are organizing for a voice on the job at the Nissan plant in Canton, Miss. The workers are pushing for a vote to organize as part of the UAW. The show will take place Friday at 8 p.m. at the Jackson State University’s Rose E. McCoy Auditorium. Common will be joined on stage by actor Danny Glover and local musicians and leaders.

UAW is engaged in an ongoing campaign to get a union vote at the Nissan Canton location. Workers at the Mississippi plant say the company relies too heavily on temporary workers who get reduced pay and benefits. Nissan’s business practice of staffing plants with a high percentage of temporary workers, who earn lower wages, have limited benefits and have no job security, won’t strengthen families and grow communities. They also say that Nissan is engaging in a campaign to intimidate workers to stay away from the union and imply that the plant will close if the union vote is successful.

Read more about Nissan: This Is What a Job in the U.S.’s New Manufacturing Industry Looks Like and the Nissan organizing campaign: www.choosejustice.com.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

 

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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

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Hey, Macklemore, Can We Go New Wireless Provider Shopping?

Hey, Macklemore, Can We Go New Wireless Provider Shopping?

Hey, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, can we talk for a minute? I love you guys. I think “The Heist” is one of the best albums of the past few years. I’ve sung three different songs of yours at karaoke and I’m practicing a fourth. I’m one of the people who knows that when you talk about Capitol Hill in your songs, you’re not talking about D.C.

One of my favorite things about your songs, beyond the high-quality sound and performance, is how you talk about real-world issues and problems in honest, open and thoughtful ways. You don’t talk down to your listeners and you give them things to think about that they might not otherwise think about. That’s a great thing to do. From discussions on LGBTQ equality in “Same Love,” to talking about racial profiling and Trayvon Martin at the American Music Awards, to dealing with drug addiction and abuse on songs like “Otherside,” you’re bringing up important topics in ways that few popular musicians ever do. That’s to be applauded.

I’m also a fan of how you have stayed true to your principles and refused to sign with record companies that would exploit you. So, can I ask you a favor? You’re performing a show tonight sponsored by T-Mobile. T-Mobile is a company as bad or worse than those record companies you talked about in songs like “Jimmy Iovine.”

Workers employed by the wireless provider have described the company’s tactics as “brutal psychological terror.” These practices include things like verbal abuse, threats, forcing workers to wear dunce caps and sit in a corner if they don’t meet their quotas. In one town, so many T-Mobile workers have gone to the doctor reporting migraines, stroke symptoms, high blood pressure, anxiety and depression, the doctors have started referring to the symptoms as “T-Mobile disease.” When those workers try to stand up for themselves and just work in a reasonable environment, they report being fired, disciplined, interrogated in basements and systematically told to keep quiet.

So far in your career, you’ve done a great job at raising awareness about injustice when you’ve seen it. You can do it again by shining a light on T-Mobile and its mistreatment of workers. At the end of “Jimmy Iovine,” you said something about how you’d prefer to be a starving artist than succeed at getting screwed over by a greedy corporation. And that was a bold stance for you that has paid off. Now you have the chance to help T-Mobile workers avoid both starving and getting screwed over.

Our friends at United Students Against Sweatshops and MoveOn.org asked your fans to sign a petition asking you to break up with T-Mobile.

Can you help some brothers and sisters out?

Read more about T-Mobile’s mistreatment of workers.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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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

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Government Shutdown: The Mixtape!

Washington, D.C., DJ Kid Cannibal, whose father Chris Garlock works for theMetropolitan Washington Council, created a hip-hop mixtape to have a little fun with the House Republican shutdown of the federal government. While the shutdown is serious business that hurts real people, take a few minutes out to have a laugh (and maybe dance a little), then tell House Speaker John Boehner to stop being irresponsible and end the shutdown. Kid Cannibal DJs at various night clubs, including the Rock & Roll Hotel, Recess, Bar 7 and Federal Lounge, and notes that none of them are currently shut down.

Here’s the track listing, with the DJ’s commentary:

  • 1.  Jay-Z – Open Letter (To Congress)
  • 2.  Notorious B.I.G. – Unbelievable (That you can’t pass funding)
  • 3.  Busta Rhymes – (Representatives) Get Out
  • 4.  DMX – Ruff Ryders’ Anthem (Shut ‘Em Down)
  • 5.  Nas, featuring Lauryn Hill – If I Ruled the World (I’d do better than this)
  • 6.  Total – (You’ll Be) Sitting Home
  • 7.  Drake – Hold On (You’re Going Home Early)
  • 8.  TLC – Ain’t too Proud to Beg (To just pass the damn bill already)
  • 9.  Gwen Guthrie – Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ on but the Rent (Please don’t furlough me)
  • 10. Eric B. & Rakim – Follow the Leader (Just do it already)
  • 11. Kid ‘N Play – Do This My Way (Or not, I guess)
  • 12. Michael Jackson – (They’re all just) Smooth Criminal(s)
  • 13. Daft Punk – (Let’s all vote) One More Time

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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