Legal & Contract Defense
When a TMA149 member performs under a TMA149 or CFM/AFM negotiated agreement or when they use a TMA149 Live Performance Contract for Canada the Local has the responsibility to defend the member’s interest when that contract is breached, such as when payment is not made. Further, in many cases the collective Contract Defence Fund will pay basic fees in lieu of the amount not paid until the breach’s resolution.
Professional musicians know there’s nothing like getting paid for a gig. The American Federation of Musicians and its Locals have negotiated collective bargaining agreements with a wide variety of employers, such as the major recording companies, symphony orchestra managements, and others, to insure that musicians get paid for playing those types of jobs.
But not all gigs fall under those categories. Many performances, like those in clubs, stage shows, and for private parties, etc., are negotiated directly between the musician and the purchaser. Unfortunately, some professionals risk their wages by not filing signed contract forms – and without a contract on file with the Local where the performance is taking place, there’s little your Local or the Federation can do to get you your hard-earned money in case you get stiffed. Standard AFM contract forms are easy to complete, requiring only such information as the date(s) of the engagement, the number of musicians playing the job, the name, address and telephone number of both the signatory musician and the purchaser, the type of engagement, the compensation agreed upon, and the signatures of both parties.
It’s also smart to include language in the contract that determines how disputes over the terms and conditions of employment will be resolved. (Using most standard AFM contracts takes care of this for you.) This gives both you and the purchaser greater security because if for some reason the contracted engagement doesn’t meet everyone’s satisfaction an equitable mechanism for resolving the problem is already in place. In addition, the AFM recommends that whenever possible, members get a 50 percent, non-refundable deposit. Under current consumer law, all deposits must be returned to the purchaser in the event of a dispute, unless it has been previously stipulated that the deposit is non-refundable. Once completed and filed, the contract has the force of law and the AFM behind it. If for some reason the purchaser fails to meet the terms agreed to in the contract, the AFM or the Local will make every effort possible to pursue monies owed to its members, including taking the purchaser to court, in certain circumstances.