Contract Protection and Legal Action on your behalf at no extra cost...

  • Local Engagement Contracts
  • Traveling Engagement Contracts
  • Collective Bargaining Agreements
  • Recording Contracts
    • Bandstand Agreements
    • Demo Recordings
    • Phono Recordings
    • Jingles
    • Motion Picture Soundtracks
  • Free Forms
  • Claims on Defaults
  • Legal Assistance
  • Collections Assistance
  • Protection from Recording

FIGHTING BACKÖ Claims for Unpaid Wages

*The phone rings just as you leave your hotel for your gig. "We donít need you," explains the purchaser. "We got Johnny B. Goode instead." You've been cancelled before you even took the stage after signing a contract and traveling a thousand miles.

* You walk off the stage after a show during a two-week gig, the manager grabs you to say he's closing and can't pay you for the rest of your performances. He's cancelled his live entertainment policy, and you with it.

* You've completed your engagement and are sitting down with the owner to collect your fee. But then you're paid less money than had been agreed upon in the contract. "But we signed a contract," you remind him. "Well," he says, "I thought we'd make more gate. I can't afford to pay you that much. It's this or nothing."

A signed, filed AFM contract is the cornerstone of your professional life. It opens the doors to most major Federation and Local services and benefits. AFM contracts are easy to understand, and most ethical purchasers will sign them when asked. The Federation and its Locals supply legal contract forms to members for all types of professional work. A signed contract is necessary for complete access to Federation services.

What is a Union Contract?

  1. A Collective Bargaining Agreement, or CBA, is negotiated for a specific group like the Palm Beach Opera.  The terms of the CBA spell out wages, benefits and working conditions for the players involved.
  2. A Musical Services Contract is for all other jobs (jobbing dates, casuals, recording sessions, services or gigs) which are not covered by a CBA.  This kind of contract is filed by the leader and is an agreement for services between them and the purchaser of music.  The leader has to follow the Union Bylaws protecting the sidemusician he/she hires.

Why file a Contract?

  • It is your only protection against nonpayment or late cancellation.
  • It protects leaders who still have to pay their side musicians. 
  • Itís cheap insurance. It only costs you 3% of scale wages (regardless how much you are actually paid) to file a contract with the Local. 
  • If your client doesnít pay you or cancels the job, the Union will represent you legally to recover your fee... and at no additional cost to you. 
  • AFM contracts also protect your performance from being recorded.

If you are unsure if there is a contract for your date on file, please call us.  The Local can often convince Leaders to file contracts protecting musicians without jeopardizing the gig, and you will remain anonymous.

Claims Close to Home

If you have a claim resulting from an engagement that took place in the jurisdiction of Local 655, contact the Local. An officer of Local 655 will examine your situation and follow these procedures:

  1. You will be asked to write a claim letter or fill out a claim form.
  2. The Local will attempt to collect the claim or reach a settlement through direct contact with the purchaser.
  3. A hearing may be held at Local 655, which you may attend.
  4. If the Local processes the claim in the courts, you will be asked to attend.
  5. Partial or complete lawyer and court fees are absorbed by most Locals.

Talk with Local 655 officers who can bring you up to date on policy. You may be covered.

Member Dispute?

If you have a claim against a Local member, it must be processed through Local 655.

  1. You must write a claim letter or fill out a claim form.
  2. A Local hearing will be held by a Local Board (called a Trial Board) at which you and the other member(s) will be asked to appear and testify.
  3. The Local Board will make a judgment, which must be honored by the member(s) involved, unless either party appeals the decision.