When studios and production companies stage non-union, or “dark,” recording dates, they do not contribute any health or pension benefits, and weaken musicians’ leverage at the negotiating table. They are a rejection of wage standards, benefits, and protections for musicians, negotiated by fellow musicians backed by their Union representatives and ratified in a democratic process.
Whether it be by a contractor, musician or composer, calling non-union dates allows the employer to refuse musicians the fair wages and benefits afforded to all other cast and crew on this production who are covered under union contract. By allowing — and encouraging — companies to deny fair Union contracts, it puts the livelihoods of all musicians in jeopardy.
What would happen if every date were a dark date, or all musicians quit their Union? There would be no contracts, no standards, no protections, no pension or health care, and no union. Choose to stand alongside your colleagues to maintain the ability to collectively and protect our rights as workers.
Like all workers throughout the labor movement, the IRS and the law demand that musicians must be treated as employees, not independent contractors. If you receive a 1099, you are made responsible for the full share of taxes instead of the employer, and you lose all rights provided to every employee under state and federal law. Industry standards, IRS rulings, and the National Relations Labor Board recognize any musicians working under baton of a conductor, at the direction of an artist, and at behest of contractor or producer as employees. Don’t risk being misclassified and undermined on the job.
Not only is it wrong for employers their representatives to coerce, pressure or otherwise influence any employee to take financial-core (“fi-core”) status and quit their union; it’s against the law. It’s also illegal to be misclassified on the job and be treated as an independent contractor; musicians are employees, entitled to fair wages and benefits that come with a union contract. Learn more about what financial-core really means here.
If you feel that any employer or employer’s representative has attempted to influence you to accept sub-standard work, or if you did not receive proper wages and benefits on a job you think may have been non-union, contact Local 47. Your information will be treated with the highest confidentiality. Federal law and your Union have your back.
Musicians who refuse & report dark dates are taking a stand to keep their stake in any of the Union contracts they work under, from recording to live performance. Keep the integrity of professional musicians alive: Say NO to All Non-Union Dates! The American Federation of Musicians will fight to make ALL scoring sessions Union sessions.
The American Federation of Musicians will fight to make ALL scoring sessions Union sessions. Please report the time and location of non-union recording sessions to the AFM Local 47 Electronic Media Division through our anonymous tip line: call/text 424-341-DARK (3725) or click bit.ly/darkdate
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Strike sanctions have been filed against three employers to ensure no unions will cross a Local 47 picket line formed at any non-union sessions. Read more
Read our informational series about what financial-core really means.