** UPDATE 4/11/2016 — We are pleased to report that an agreement has been reached with the producers of Amazon original series “Transparent” to cover musicians working on the show under a union contract. Read more **
Labor organizations demand action asking ‘Where’s the pride for musicians?’
LOS ANGELES, CA (March 29, 2016) — Amazon series “Transparent” has come under fire by leaders in the Los Angeles labor community for the unequal treatment of musicians who work on the show.
On Tuesday morning members of AFM Local 47, the Los Angeles chapter of the American Federation of Musicians, leafleted outside a desert location shoot in Pearblossom, California, asking “Where’s the pride for musicians?” and calling upon production company Picrow to hold musicians to the same standard as all its other workers. The acting talent, writers, directors, and crew receive union wages, benefits and protections; only musicians are shut out of a labor contract.
The musicians’ organizing campaign amassed early support from powerful allies in the local and state labor community, including the California Labor Federation, Pride at Work, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, and Jewish Labor Committee Western Region.
“It is unfortunate that a show that portrays the transgender community in such a welcoming and positive light would simultaneously treat a portion of its professional staff so unfairly,” Jerame Davis, Pride at Work executive director, said in a letter sent to Picrow. “Disparate treatment of employees based on job function is never a good labor practice and only serves to foment distrust and discontent among the staff. Few LGBTQ people would be pleased to learn that it is the show’s practice to treat one group of employees differently than the others – that is, after all, exactly the type of workplace behavior we’ve been combatting for decades.”
“Musicians contribute just as much to a production as the cast and crew, and deserve the same fair wages, pension, health benefits, and union protections that all other workers on the show receive,” California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski wrote in a letter of support.
“Musicians are the only workers being treated differently, and we don’t think that’s right,” said AFM Local 47 President John Acosta. “We aren’t asking for huge wage increases, or extravagant bonuses. All we want is to be offered a fair contract in line with the industry standard.”