Contract Protection and Legal Action on your behalf at no
- Local Engagement Contracts
- Traveling Engagement Contracts
- Collective Bargaining Agreements
- Recording Contracts
- Bandstand Agreements
- Demo Recordings
- Phono Recordings
- 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?
- 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
- 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
- It protects leaders who still have to pay their side
- Itís cheap insurance. It only costs you 3% of scale wages
(regardless how much you are actually paid) to file a contract with the
- 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
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:
- You will be asked to write a claim letter or fill out a
- The Local will attempt to collect the claim or reach a
settlement through direct contact with the purchaser.
- A hearing may be held at Local 655, which you may attend.
- If the Local processes the claim in the courts, you will be
asked to attend.
- Partial or complete lawyer and court fees are absorbed by
Talk with Local 655 officers who can bring you up to date on
policy. You may be covered.
If you have a claim against a Local member, it must be
processed through Local 655.
- You must write a claim letter or fill out a claim form.
- 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.
- The Local Board will make a judgment, which must be honored
by the member(s) involved, unless either party appeals the decision.