Archives: 2000

12/01/00 Solidarity

Members often ask, "what has the Union done for me lately?" let us ask you, "what have you done for yourself lately?"

The real strength of the Union lies in collective action. When musicians band together, management must listen. Locally, weíve seen what can happen by the example of the Florida Philharmonic musicians: they went on strike for four weeks, refusing to work until management came back with a better contract offer. They went from an initial offer of a 2% raise for one year to a 27% raise over five years (7% in the first year) because they stood together.

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12/01/00 Recording Rap

Musicians, Commercial Music & The AFM

...Callum Benepe, AFM EMSD

Is The Job For A "Covered" Employer?

The first thing one needs to know when hired to play on a commercial, is whether or not the advertising agency is a current "Signatory". All this means is that the agency has signed a "Letter Of Adherence" with the AFM. By signing this simple form, the agency obtains the right to make Pension and Health & Welfare contributions on the musicianís behalf. Contrary to popular belief, the AFM does not administer or control the Pension fund. The AFM-EP or American Federation of Musicians Employee Pension is bound by Federal law to ensure that each and every employer making Pension contributions is a Signatory to the current Agreement.

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12/01/00 Symphonic Shorts

FPO Ratifies New Contract

After a four-week long strike, musicians agreed to management’s final offer after being threatened with dissolution of the orchestra. Management had previously canceled the 2000-1 season, but musicians returned to work on October 24 and the first concert of the season was on October 25.

The often-heated negotiations generated almost daily front-page press and this was the first strike in the history of the Florida Philharmonic.

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12/01/00 Casual Corner

SFX Negotiations Update

The strike against Broadway-show presenter SFX continues as management refuses to bring a better offer to the negotiating table. They have also begun recruiting scab orchestras. If you are called to play, please contact the Local immediately. The latest information is available on the website at

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12/01/00 Member Feedback

I wish you guys could have these meetings when people who have day gigs (college profs) could make them.
Dante Luciani

Can't make the meeting, but our life insurance premium is 20 times the going rate.  Coupled with the fact it's mandatory and paid to an insurance provider that doesn't provide health insurance in Florida, it's obscene. Dump this insurance company, or I'll consider resigning in good standing.  Check your records, I've done it before and I mean it. 
Randy Emerick

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12/01/00 Official Business

2001 Annual Dues Notice

(Dues+Life Insurance Assessment=annual amount due/semiannual rate due in January and July)

Resignations must be received by January 14 or you will be liable for first-quarter dues

Membership Cards will be mailed in February...thank you for your patience!

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12/01/00 Treasurer's Report

Work Dues Statements for Tax Purposes

If you would like a statement of dues paid in 2000 for your Income Tax Returns, please contact us. Statements will be mailed beginning the end of January.

Directory to be Published

The Membership Directory will be reprinted in February 2001. If you have a new address or phone number, a change in the instruments you are listed under, or have an e-mail address you would like listed, please contact us ASAP. Thank you!

12/01/00 President's Report

Ö from the frying pan into the fire Ö The coincidence of having the two Collective Bargaining Agreements most in need of fixing result in strikes is both gut-wrenching and fulfilling. To watch families struggle in order to improve substandard wages is difficult to watch, but at the same time, seeing musicians standing together with the common goal of respect in the workplace and a decent salary for the professionalism they bring to the workplace is extremely fulfilling. I donít wish work stoppages on anyone, they are taxing at best, but when confronted with the lack of logic and understanding on the part of management that we have witnessed, they seem unavoidable.

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10/01/00 Florida Philharmonic on Strike

On September 25, hours after last-minute negotiations were held in an effort to reach an agreement prior to the first service of the season, members of the Florida Philharmonic voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. Management’s final offer was a 5-percent increase in a single-year contract, a change from the previous offer which called for an 8.2% increase over 3 years. Musicians were demanding that management close the 32% gap between their salary and the ICSOM Orchestra average.


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10/01/00 Symphonic Shorts

Atlanta Ballet ends Strike

On Monday, September 18, after a year-long strike, musicians ratified a new three-year agreement with management. Musicians received all of their original demands, including an overall 12% wage increase (8% in the first year), specific guarantee of annual work, and AFM Pension Fund contributions beginning in the second year.

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10/01/00 Casual Corner

So how do I get one of those MPTF Gigs?

The performance requirements are few: the concert must be free and open to the public, the music must be the primary purpose for audience attendance, and performers must acknowledge the MPTF as well as cosponsor support in all programs and publicity credits. Concerts can take place at schools, malls, in the park, and even in concert halls. They can be educational concerts, jazz concerts, rock concerts, classical concerts, ethnic concerts, etc.

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10/01/00 Recording Rap

September 13th I was watching the Latin Grammys and I was so proud to see some of our Localís musicians playing for the awards; from the opening musical tribute to the late Tito Puente until the end of the show featuring the Miami Sound Machine. Letís hope Miami can host this event in the near future. As each category was being judged I noticed how many projects and contracts our musicians were on. Thatís the reason our recording totals have risen this past year! Congratulations to Kike Santander for winning best songwriter category for Best Regional Song "Mi Verdad", and to Emilio Estefan Jr. for winning Best Music Video, for Gloriaís, "No Me Dejes De Querer" and for Producer of the Year. Many thanks to all our musicians who are putting Miami on the map.

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10/01/00 Official Business


AGENDA: Resolutions to amend the Bylaws

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10/01/00 Member Feedback

I think itís time to take the Local back from the orchestra and make it representative of all the musicians who work, live, die and pay dues in this Local. If the Local is going to spend our money, we should all have a voice in it. The orchestra should pay their own way just like the rest of us.

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08/01/00 Symphonic Shorts

Internet Agreement Ratified

Musicians, including members of the Florida Phil. and Boca Pops, recently ratified a national agreement covering distribution of live and prerecorded music over the Internet. The agreement is retroactive to February 1, 2000 and runs through January 31, 2002.

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08/01/00 Member Benefits

Local 655 Web Page-Members Area and Referral Pages to go online

Peruse a copy of the latest newsletter, find out about breaking news, look up a phone number of a member, find out about local concerts, and more.

And in August, we add a membersí area with Scales, Bylaws, minutes from Membership and Executive Board Meetings, Events Calendar, and more. Referral Program pages will also be online, with photos, bios, and audio clips of our members.

Check it out at: Http://

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08/01/00 Recording Rap

On Sept. 13 the first Latin Grammy Awards will be broadcast by CBS from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Latin Grammys mark the first time a major United States network will devote two hours of prime-time television to bilingual programming. Emilio Estefan Jr. is leading the nominations pack with six. Hopefully Miami will be hosting the 2001 Latin Grammys.

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08/01/00 Official Business

Semiannual Dues Paid?

Please note that if you have not paid your semiannual dues, you are now subject to a $5 late fee. Check your mailing label for amounts that you owe (which includes work dues but not any late fees). Please call us if you have questions. Thanks!

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08/01/00 Casual Corner

The Arts DO have Impact!

A study done shows the following facts about the arts in New England:

  • Total impact of nonprofit arts organizations: $3.9 Billion.
  • Income generated by cultural tourism: $6.6 Billion.
  • Arts and culture are the fastest-growing segment of the New England economy.
  • The arts in New England support 247,000 jobs (equal to the computer equipment industry and more than the software and medical technology industries.

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08/01/00 President's Report

Ö As this column is written, we are a day away from our next two days of negotiations with the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, a little too early to discuss any details, except to say Iím hopeful that some meaningful dialogue will result in a much needed improvement in the CBA. I am very pleased with our negotiating team, comprised of the Orchestra Committee, our counsel Leonard Leibowitz, and consultant William Thompson Ö 

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08/01/00 Treasurer's Report

Local Exceeds Millennium Drive Goal

Our goal for the Millennium Drive was to recruit 50 new members, and Iím proud to say they that we actually ended up recruiting 79 new members! Please scan through the list on page 7 and see if there are any names that you recognize; if so, please take a moment to welcome them. We now have 913 members: 101 Inactive Life Members, 132 Life Members, and 679 Regular Members.

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06/01/00 Member Benefits

Internet Access from the AFM!

By the time you read this, the AFM should be rolling out its own Internet Service Provider service. Access will be through the Uunet network, so there will be dial-up coverage in all 50 states, Canada, and even internationally. Service will include unlimited access, up to 4 email addresses, and a custom start page (portal), all for just $13.95 per month. Thatís a savings of $96/year over AOL! And if you pay a full year up front, the price drops to $12.79/month. For more information or to download software, keep an eye on or give us a call.

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06/01/00 Recording Rap

During the month of April, HBO filmed the made-for-cable movie "Havana Nocturne," Arturo Sandovalís life story. Andy Garcia, as the lead, portrays Arturoís story of frustration in Cuba and his defection in 1990 with his wife and youngest son. This was a Union project which provided sidelining work for many of our musicians, including Ed Calle, Richard Bravo, and Will Edwards. Iím sure youíll notice a few of them in the movie. If any members are interested in this type of film work please call me, and Iíll provide you with the agents to contact.

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06/01/00 Symphonic Shorts

Contract Settlements Across the Country...


Term of Agreement




Atlanta Symphony

9/2000 through 8/2004

Year 1: $62,540Year 2: $63,440Year 3: $67,600Year 4: $71,500

4.50%, 4.50%, 4.75%, and 5%

Audition committee can override music director

Baltimore Symphony

9/2000 through 8/2005

Year 1: $67,600Year 2: $70,720Year 3: $74,100Year 4: $80,850Year 5: $89,180


Nine vacation weeks in second year; per diem increases; more runout restrictions

Colorado Symphony

1999 though 2004

Year 1: $31,836Year 2: $33,726Year 3: $36,246Year 4: $40,291Year 5: $44,748


Relief Services; 2 weeks added to season by end of contract

Jacksonville Symphony

9/1999 through 8/2002

Year 1: $30,004Year 2: $31,616Year 3: $32,528


3 weeks added to season by end of contract

New Jersey Symphony

9/2000 through 8/2003

Year 1: $35,875Year 2: $38,772Year 3: $41,760

10% (now paid on gross)

Three vacation weeks in second year

News & Announcements

Crafton Beck, Music Director of the Boca Pops, has been appointed Music Director of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra...John Graham, former Executive Director of the Florida Philharmonic and the Boca Pops, has been appointed interim Executive Director of the Honolulu Symphony...Christopher Dunworth, President and CEO of the New World Symphony, has announced that he will step down at the end of his contract in June 2001...

06/01/00 Casual Corner

003casual2.gifIntroducing...Jake Luger, Casual Rep

Iím glad to be the newest member of "Team Local 655." My goals are:

  • To spread the word about the benefits of Union membership and promote increased recognition for Local 655 and our members;
  • To create new avenues of public performance by solidifying the partnership of commerce/industry and the Florida Union musician;
  • To involve, energize, and challenge Local 655 members to expand MPTF possibilities;
  • To enhance opportunities for Local 655 members to entertain and educate the community by showcasing our talents.

I ask all of our members to send me your ideas for corporate sponsors, venues, and musicians. You can reach me at (954) 925-1996 or gigs655[at]aol[dot]com. Thanks!

-Jake Luger

06/01/00 Official Business

Semiannual Dues Reminder

If you are paying semiannually, the balance is due in July and this is your only notice.

How much do you owe?

Check your mailing label! The number in parenthesis after your name is your current balance as of the date of this mailing. This amount includes any outstanding work dues, in addition to annual dues owed. If you have any questions, please call the office. Thanks!

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06/01/00 Member Feedback

Dear friends at Local 655,

Thank you for your kindness and your intervention in the matter of the insurance. I deeply appreciate the warm friendship you have shown me. You have no idea how much it has helped. I pray God will recompense you in some special blessings.

Very Sincerely, MíAdele Rollings

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06/01/00 President's Report

As the time approaches for summer vacations and some well-deserved "down-time" for many of our members, I hope each of you finds the time and "space" to spend some time with family and friends.

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06/01/00 Treasurer's Report


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04/01/00 Member Benefits


Save 20% on all sheet music, books, and music publications at any Sam Ash location just by showing your Local 655 membership card!


Save money when shopping online by visiting! Earn discounts at over 80 online merchants such as Barnes and Noble, J Crew, PC Flowers, Omaha Steaks, Avon, Toys R Us, Office Max, Avis, and many more!

04/01/00 Where Members' Money Went

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04/01/00 MPTF Scholarships and Music Business Seminar

Music Business Seminar at FAU

At the invitation of faculty member Dan Salmasian, President Graves recently gave a lecture on how the AFM has helped him in his own personal career. He talked about his days on the Jackie Gleason show, and how he without lifting a finger he would get checks for an additional 75% when the show went into reruns in the summer. He also mentioned that he is still getting paid for the BeeGees song "Staying Alive" that he did in the 1970ís! Peter talked about the various aspects of the business of music, including production and management, as well as the AFMís contract administration, Pension Fund, and recording services.

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04/01/00 Symphonic Shorts

Did You Know? (Sources: IRS Form 990,


Date of Info.

Total Expenses

Program Costs

Administrative Costs

Program Costs as % of Expenses

Has CBA?

Boca Pops

Sept. 98






Florida Philharmonic

May 99






Greater Palm Bch. Sym.

May 98






Miami Chamber Sym.

May 98






Miami Symphony

Dec. 97






New World Sym.

Jun. 98






Palm Beach Opera

Sept. 98






Palm Beach Pops

Jun. 98






Sym. of the Americas

Aug. 98






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04/01/00 Casual Corner

The Bandstand Agreement

Is your recording really safe?

What if the group breaks up?

Is there a guarantee of additional money when you become signed...even if there is little or no front money because of the production cost?

The Bandstand agreement addresses those questions and concerns, whether you are a duo or a larger group (up to eight).

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04/01/00 Recording Rap

I want to thank all musicians for their phone calls and inquiries; because of this I am able to get more contracts filed and more clean up accomplished. Twelve musicians with the Michael Rose Orchestra received payment for a TV commercial. This was only possible because we had an original contract on file. Now you know why we keep saying, "Please file your contracts!"

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04/01/00 Member Feedback

Is this a fairy tale or did it actually happen? You do a recording (in this case a video shoot for Public Television), the show is broadcast, you get your check, and now everything in your mind is now over. At least so you think! Two and one half years later a commercial is using footage from that PBS show and airing it on local cable channels. You call the union, the union contacts the leader, you get a check for the commercial! THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED! THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED HERE, YES HERE, Local 655!

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04/01/00 President's Report

ÖLife Insurance: To Be Or Not To BeÖ

ÖAs has been previously discussed in the newsletter and at membership meetings, the issue of whether to continue participating in the life insurance business is a very volatile issue for our membership. There is an article regarding the pros and cons of life insurance coverage in this issue (see page 5). We will be holding a membership meeting on Thursday, May 18 where you can voice your opinion with your vote.

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04/01/00 Official Business

General Membership Meeting


Amendment to the Bylaws

DATE: Thursday May 18 at 1 p.m.

LOCATION: Sheet Metal Workers Local 32

20375 NE 15 CT, North Miami


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02/01/00 Member Benefits

Health Insurance

An HMO is now available to our members through the Cultural Community Health Care Co-op. Details are available at the Local or by calling Tony Lestino at (305) 220-8456.

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02/01/00 In Memoriam...Mike Selker

In Memoriam - Mike Selker

Mike moved to Miami Beach and joined Local 655 in 1946, after serving as a lead navigator in the Air Force in WWII. A member of Locals 4 (Cleveland) and 802 (New York) as well as 655, Mike was a busy musician, playing in leading hotels and clubs during the heyday of club-date work. He was always eager to show pictures and recount the tales, good and bad, of his Air Force days, club dates he played, big acts that came in to south Florida. He would have made a great historian, as his recently-introduced column in South Florida Musician showed.

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02/01/00 Recording Rap


In the course of preparing for the most recent round of bargaining of the Phonograph Record Labor Agreement, Federation officers, counsel, staff, and Local officers devoted a great amount of time and attention to a loophole that resulted in musicians being paid months after the session despite record companies "complying" with the 15 day payment rule.

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02/01/00 Symphonic Shorts

Palm Beach Opera signs Collective Bargaining Agreement

Palm Beach Opera Orchestra members have also elected a new Orchestra Committee:

  • Virginia Barnes (Chair)
  • Laura Miller (1st Vice-Chair)
  • Mark Martin (2nd Vice-Chair)
  • Johann Bast (Treasurer)
  • Jennifer Potochnic (Secretary)


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02/01/00 Member Feedback

Dear Peter, Paul, Janice, and Chris,

Thank you all so much for all you have done to make the first contract ever for the Palm Beach Opera possible. It has been a long year and a half for me, and sometimes I didnít think I could go on, but each one of you encouraged me at one time or another to keep going. I am still processing the fact that it is finally finished (or should I say, just beginning).

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02/01/00 Casual Corner

Music Publishing 101

Are you a songwriter? Music Publisher? Curious about the business but donít know where to start? In either case, this book is for you.

Author Regina Smith knows her stuff; she used to work for a major music publisher as coordinator of copyrights and licensing. And her straightforward style will keep even laymen from getting confused.

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02/01/00 President's Report

Are You The Problem or Part Of The Solution ? Why We Need You To Pay Attention To The Newsletter !

ÖWith the recent problems regarding the Atlanta Ballet strike and musicians from South Florida being recruited, as well as our troubles with the Florida Grand Opera, I must stress the importance of paying attention to what is going on around you, and to effects of your actions on your fellow musiciansÖ

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02/01/00 Official Business

Pay Less Taxes...Plan for Retirement

FREE Seminar!

Clifford Huxford, Financial Services Representative for PESCO PLUS, and a special guest will answer your questions about retirement plans, investing in Mutual Funds, tax-deductible business expenses, and more at our next General Membership Meeting.

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