Musicians Stand Up Against Poverty Wages

Instrumental Casting, Shahkar called out for exploiting non-union musicians

Shahkar concertgoers support fair pay for musicians.

AFM Local 47 musicians leafleted the Shahkar Bineshpajooh concert outside the Dolby Theatre on May 20 for paying musicians sub-standard wages and for refusing to hire union members.

Local 47 staff also spoke with the non-union musicians at their rehearsal about joining the union and demanding a fair contract for work at major venues like the Dolby.

The non-union orchestra, contracted by Instrumental Casting/Jennifer Walton, was asked to play two rehearsals, a two-hour sound-check, and a lengthy concert – four services – for a total of $300 for each musician. By contrast, under a union agreement, members of a supporting orchestra would have earned $761 each plus pension, benefits and premiums for the same four services.

By making large orchestras available for dirt cheap rates, contractors like Ms. Walton aren’t helping musicians, they’re training employers to expect bargain rates and they’re undermining musicians’ ability to pay their bills.

Instrumental Casting is currently on the Local 47 Do Not Work For list because of a history of anti-union hiring practices.

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