Archives: September 2006

09/01/06 Profile: Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis' biography reads like a timeline of South Florida music history. An impressive list of famous names have benefited from his talents, including Jackie Gleason, Rod Stewart, KC and the Sunshine Band, The Bee Gees, Jose Feliciano, Dr. Hook, Lionel Hampton, Betty Wright, Julio Iglesias, Willie Nelson, Diddy, Black Sabbath, Inner Circle, and countless others. Mike has worked in virtually every imaginable media and musical style; listing all of his credits would require many pages.

Mike's musical beginnings were somewhat tentative. "I started piano lessons when I was 6, but wasn't too thrilled. After I began playing the trumpet at age 12, I sort of got hooked on music. All the local high school band directors had a dance band, and at age 15 they put me on 1st trumpet." AFM membership has been an important part of his life for 53 years, having first joined a small local in Hamlet, North Carolina. "We played all over North and South Carolina. I wasn't even old enough to drive. Somebody had to give me a ride to the gigs!" Mike later transferred his membership to Local 802 (New York) and finally, in 1964, to Local 655.

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09/01/06 Official Business

Membership Meetings Scheduled

Replace the existing Wage Scales with the Following Revision: (The Wage Scale Committee reports favorably on the following amendment)

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09/01/06 Member Benefits

Health Club Discounts

Did you know that the Union Plus Health Club program offers discounted access to over 1,500 health clubs nationwide?

Get a pre-negotiated union-member-only discount of 20% - 60% off new health club memberships at popular gyms across the country including Bally’s, Curves, and Gold’s and World’s gyms. 

To locate a participating gym in your area and get a free trial guest pass, call GlobalFit at 1-888-294-1500 or visit  online at .

09/01/06 Double Times

The Florida Philharmonic Bankruptcy appears to be almost over, although there were some troubling 11th-hour developments. The archival recordings have been in the possession of audio engineer Peter McGrath, and when the Local tried to secure those recordings from future exploitation, Mr. McGrath voiced objections. In the end we were able to secure a court order allowing him to store the recordings, but requiring him to notify the Local of any attempt to access the recordings, and requiring the Local's consent before the recordings can be used for any commercial purpose. Violation of this order would place him in Contempt of Court, so there would be strong penalties if the recordings were misused.

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09/01/06 Studio Beat

As I write this, Tropical Storm Ernesto is upon us. I hope you made it through without problems. As you know, South Florida has a long history of destructive storms. Local 655 has also had somewhat of a stormy past. Right to work laws, dodgy local officers, receivership, the Florida Philharmonic bankruptcy, and many other challenges have made things difficult for us at times. We’ve also had to endure the same threats facing the entire music business: illegal downloading, outsourcing, and the many pressures on freelance and symphonic musicians.

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09/01/06 That Union Thing

After enduring a six-week, anti-union campaign that included forced one-on-one captive audience meetings with the chairman of the board, some 100 satellite TV installers working for Mastec in Tampa voted to join IBEW (the electrical workers union). Employees complained that they were forced to work without overtime pay and wer forced to rent company-owned vehicles.

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09/01/06 Industry News

Local/Club Date

The Miami Performing Arts Center, scheduled to open in October 2006, has received $40 million in naming rights donations. The Center became the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts as a result of $20 million in donations from Carnival Corporation. In recognition of $10 million in donations, the concert hall has been named the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall. The opera/ballet hall has already been named after Sanford & Delores Ziff, who have given $10 million to the center.

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