Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More Email About Unions

Michael writes:
One final thought:
Any musician that worked for a band and got stiffed should NEVER agree to work for them again. Or better yet, before cutting them off accept a gig and show up and NOT play until the thief gives you what he owes you plus the current gig up front. If you let someone abuse you more than once you enable him to do it to others. (I do not believe Rosenblatt ever stiffed anyone out of money) On the band side: If a musician cancels a gig on me without justifiable cause I will Never book him for another one no matter how great a musician he is.
I have a similar policy. There are great musicians I will never call for a gig, because they cancelled for no reason or last minute without making any effort to cover the slot.

This actually raises a good point about something the union ought to be doing, but which, to the best of my knowledge doesn't do. We hear talk, as threatened in the Allegro article against Chaim Rosenblatt, about an office being labeled "unfair", with the result that union members would not be allowed to accept work from that office.

It seems to me that a more appropriate place to make that threat would be against union offices that are stiffing union members. This would serve a few goals. First, it would protect union members directly, which is ostensibly the union's main goal. Second, it would prevent these offices from undercutting those bands who do pay their musicians. I've lost a few gigs over the years to a union band who quoted prices so low, that the only way he could have do so, is by intending at the outset to either stiff some musicians at the end of the night, hire unprofessional kids to cover some slots, or, as has happened, both. In an extremely price sensitive economy, it's simply impossible to compete with that, in situations where cost is a/the major component of the client's decision process.

So, why didn't doesn't the union talk about this? If the tactic of not permitting union workers to working for a certain band does have an impact, why is that tactic not used here?