Musicians Demonstrate Against Exploitation at Warner Bros.

Legislators, Labor Community Call for Fair Treatment of Musicians

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BURBANK, CA (DEC. 15, 2015) — More than 50 members of the American Federation of Musicians Local 47, Unite Here Local 11, and other unions and community supporters held a large demonstration Tuesday morning against the exploitation of musicians taking place on the Warner Bros. lot.

The group distributed leaflets objecting to the studio’s facilitation of non-union activity on its property. Warner Bros., signatory to the American Federation of Musicians, permitted a non-union “dark” date by Cinema Scoring, an employer with whom AFM Local 47 has a labor dispute.

The news prompted swift reaction from the musicians union’s labor and community allies. Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Executive Secretary-Treasurer Rusty Hicks and local state assembly members Adrin Nazarian (CA-46), Mike Gatto (CA-43) and Ian Calderon (CA-57) sent letters to Warner Bros. executives condemning the studio’s facilitation of non-union activity on their lot and offering safe haven for employers to exploit musicians.

“By allowing sub-standard working conditions on your scoring stages, it undermines the future careers of the next generation of professional musicians,” Nazarian wrote. “Further, it negatively impacts entire communities by devaluating the livelihoods of musicians who contribute to the economic and educational well-being of our neighborhood.”

The musicians union discovered evidence of a dark scoring session conducted at Warner Bros. in November by Cinema Scoring, a group with whom Local 47 has a labor dispute. In June, at the request of the union, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor authorized strike sanction against three music employers – Cinema Scoring, Collective Media Guild, and Peter Rotter Music Services – based on their actual and/or potential engagement of musicians in non-union recording sessions. The strike sanction calls for all AFL-CIO affiliated labor unions to stand in solidarity with AFM Local 47 and not cross the picket line if and when these employers call a non-union engagement.

This is the first time the musicians union has taken this unique approach by invoking the collective power of the labor community.

“By enabling non-union scoring sessions on their lot – whether through rental of its facilities or otherwise – Warner Bros. is creating a safe haven for the exploitation of musicians where they are denied fair industry-standard wages, conditions of employment, and benefits afforded to all other crew on the very same stage who are protected by a union contract,” AFM Local 47 President John Acosta said.

AFM Local 47 is a labor organization formed by and for musicians over a century ago that promotes and protects the concerns of 7,000 Los Angeles-area musicians in all areas of the music business. Local 47 is affiliated with the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, the largest organization in the world representing the interests of 85,000 professional musicians.