Last month, the Met Opera achieved a deal with both the American Federation of Musicians and the American Guild of Musicians just before the Met would open for the fall season. What made this story particularly the Times account of it stick out to me was that the terms of the deal weren’t made public. The Times pointed out this peculiarity since previous rounds of negotiations ended with a public result. The implied reason for the silence is that letting out the deal might further highlight the overall financial instability of the Met Opera.
This story pulls at a lot of my loosely connected passions of the south, video games, and a labor dispute. The Nashville, Tennessee chapter of the American Federation of Musicians (Local 257) expressed frustration over Tennessee allocating $5 million in tax rebates to try and lure video game developers to their state. The issue brought up by the local union is that these companies are going around them and instead finding cheaper non-union label to produce music for their video games.
The most telling section of the story to me to me was right here:
The typical union musician gets about $125 per hour in pay and benefits for a session, but non-union musicians get about $75 without contributions to their health or retirement.
The fact that Tennessee is a right-to-work state only further empowers these video game developers to find non-unionized labor.
The story felt extremely poignant to me right now as the video game industry is seeing increased mobilization around unionization through the organization Game Workers Unite
This is just a nice little story about a few members of the American Federation of Musicians Local 660 in Centre County, Pennsylvania staking it out on their own playing local farmers markets and community events. RIYL: Farmer’s Markets, retirement, and pre-rock music.