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Thread: Question on musician union

  1. #1

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    Default Question on musician union

    Question: Are any of you a member of a musician union? If so are they worth joining and what are the benefits? We have one here in Oklahoma but haven't joined it yet.

    Keep drumming


  2. #2

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    Default Re: Question on musician union

    Not I.

    Never have been.
    DW drums and Paiste cymbals.

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Question on musician union

    never ever

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Question on musician union

    I've been in the union. It's required when you work with artists, show work, TV, some orchestras, etc. It definitely has advantages. Things like controlling rates of pay, insurance benefits, entry into the union directory (first to get the calls),etc. There are some down sides. They really don't like you to play the non-union establishments so doing both can be a conflict of interest. There are also fees that are due every year. Bottom line: If you're playing mostly club dates, don't bother. If you're starting to play the above-mentioned gigs and/or want to aim for that goal, you should probably go ahead and join the local union or at the very least, educate yourself on it and be prepared for when that right gig comes along.
    - Tom

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  5. #5

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    Exclamation Re: Question on musician union

    Good point on why union memberships are useful if you're a professional musician. But, as drummer points out, if you're aren't serious about making a career out of professional percussion (or any other kind of music), I'd hold off.

    I had an unpleasant experience with a union local where I live, so I'm frankly a little sour on unions. One of the officials of the local chapter had been after me for years to join, because, as drummer hinted, it would give you an edge on landing a gig.

    In this guy's case, however, all membership gave him was his own edge on landing a gig. In four years of union membership, I got precisely one job opening--and I discovered after the fact the papers I was supposed to sign at the end of the gig had been pre-signed on behalf of the son of the union official, whom I had replaced for that gig. That is, I did the work and he got the money.

    I wrote a diplomatic but rather blunt letter to the president of the local telling him what you see above; needless to say he wanted me to stay, but I was spending more money maintaining my dues than I ever was paid as a "professional" drummer.

    Interesting to note that shortly afterward, that local was taken over by another AFM local, never to be seen or heard from again.
    Last edited by bongobro; 09-13-2013 at 11:15 AM.
    keep the beat goin' ... Don't keep it to yourself!


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  6. #6

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    Default Re: Question on musician union

    I was a Member years ago. DRUMMERS comments above hit the nail on the head.

    At the time for me...the locals President recruited me very heavily and I joined at his suggestion (eventually).

    I didn't receive much from it work-wise, some gigs I was offered I had ZERO interest in doing, but I did get a steady easy peezy one-hour church gig out of it on Sunday Nights that I kept for a while.
    "The problem with information on the Internet is that you can not validate it's authenticity. " -Abraham Lincoln


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