RMA San Francisco Dissolves Chapter

By • June 5, 2007

In the latest episode of the internal struggles occurring within the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) labor union, the San Francisco chapter of the Recording Musicians Association has dissolved just days before a critical national meeting of AFM leaders.

The Recording Musicians Associations is a “player conference” within the American Federation of Musicians that focuses on recording musicians.

In a letter sent by the RMA SF chapter to the RMA International office in Los Angeles, the RMA SF board cited major conflicts with the RMA International in the areas of film, television and video game scoring, stating, “Our motion picture and videogame recording industry is in crisis.”

The RMA SF dissolution letter stated, “Especially with regard to motion picture, television and videogame recording work, RMA International seems to exclusively serve the interests of a small group of musicians in its Los Angeles Chapter. In turn, RMALA appears to be dedicated to keeping this work away from RMA musicians in other chapters, and, in fact, other musicians within their own Local.”

To read the entire RMA SF dissolution letter, click here.

RMA International President Phil Ayling sent Film Music Magazine a detailed response to the RMA SF letter, and said that AFM (San Francisco) Local President David Schoenbrun “inappropriately made proposals to the AFM on the [RMA] Chapter’s behalf and would use the weight of his office to back-in local approval afterwards,” Ayling cited what he sees as larger issues with the AFM and recording musicians, saying, “The closure of RMASF is all about AFM leadership failure in representing recording musicians.”

Ayling’s statement continued, “RMA has long been supportive of commercial recording in San Francisco. In response to reports of non-union records and jingles, we worked vigorously with local musicians to confront that. Neither the [San Francisco] Local President David Schoenbrun, nor AFM President Tom Lee has made substantive efforts to organize that employment.”

Click here to read Ayling’s entire response.

San Francisco AFM Local 6 President David Schoenbrun, in a statement to Film Music Magazine today responding to Ayling’s statement, said that it is every AFM Local’s right per AFM bylaws to submit proposals on any and all agreements to the AFM, and that proposals submitted by AFM Local 6 were approved by the RMA SF Board.

Schoenbrun emphasized that proposals were submitted by Local 6 because proposals submitted through the RMA SF must be vetted by the RMA International, and according to Schoenbrun, “any attempts by RMA SF musicians to add their input and opinions to RMA proposals were met with rejection by the RMA International.”

Schoenbrun continued, “The RMA SF letter speaks for itself. The RMA SF believes that the actions of the RMA International worked to the detriment of San Francisco recording musicians, and that is the sole reason the RMA SF membership voted to dissolve the chapter. My response to Phil’s accusations that I intimidated members is, ‘methinks he doth protest too much…'”

Film Music Magazine will provide continuing coverage of AFM activities including coverage from the AFM National Convention being held in Las Vegas next week.

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