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As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.

The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.

Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit www.afm.org/join.

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Home » Officer Columns » Accountability of Publicly Funded Cultural Enterprises, An Important Issue


Accountability of Publicly Funded Cultural Enterprises, An Important Issue

  -  AFM International Executive Board Member and Local 406 (Montreal, PQ) President

en français: La responsabilisation des entreprises culturelles subventionnées, un enjeu d’importance

Since my early days as a trade unionist at Local 406 (Montreal, PQ), I’ve noticed that cultural enterprises receiving public funds were largely unaccountable to their backers when it came to artists’ working conditions. Yet, it seems so obvious that an employer receiving public money should always demonstrate that they respect the pay and benefits standards established by the unions to be eligible for subsidies. Unfortunately, the boards of directors of these funding organizations don’t seem to be very aware of how the money granted actually reaches the musicians and artists.

It’s always the same question: does all this money percolate down to the artists, without whom there would simply be no culture to subsidize? We note that the boards of the organizations that distribute these sums make no room for representatives of artists’ unions. This is despite the fact that they have considerable expertise based on their presence in the field and the professional experience of their leaders, which no doubt explains this lack of interest.

In Canada, for example, a company can be state funded and not file contracts with AFM locals, without any consequences to its funding applications. Here, state funding covers a very broad field, including film, television, sound recording, etc. Yet, we have few collective agreements with producer groups in many of these areas. If the government required these companies to report to the unions, our members would benefit much more often from negotiated working conditions, with pension contributions and union protection.

It is important to actively lobby, both locally and nationally. Despite years of lobbying on this subject, the issue is still stagnating, so perhaps it’s time for concerted action at all levels.


La responsabilisation des entreprises culturelles subventionnées, un enjeu d’importance

par Luc Fortin, membre du conseil exécutif international (IEB) de l’AFM et président de la section locale 406 (Montréal, Qué.)

Depuis mes tout débuts comme syndicaliste à la section locale 406 (Montréal, Qué.), je constate que les entreprises culturelles qui reçoivent des fonds publics n’ont que bien peu de comptes à rendre relativement aux conditions de travail des artistes qu’ils engagent. Pourtant, il semble évident qu’un employeur qui reçoit de l’argent public devrait toujours démontrer qu’il respecte les normes de rémunération et d’avantages sociaux établies par les syndicats. Malheureusement, les conseils d’administration des bailleurs de fonds publics ne semblent pas très sensibilisés à la façon dont les sommes accordées se rendent jusqu’aux musiciens et artistes.

C’est toujours la même question : est-ce que tout cet argent se rend jusqu’aux artistes sans lesquels il n’y aurait tout simplement pas de culture à subventionner? On remarque que les conseils de ces organisations ne font pas de place à des représentants des syndicats d’artistes, alors que ces derniers ont une grande expertise en raison de leur présence sur le terrain et de l’expérience professionnelle de leurs dirigeants. C’est sans doute ce qui explique ce manque d’intérêt.

Au Canada, une entreprise peut, par exemple, être financée par l’État et omettre de déposer des contrats auprès des sections locales de l’AFM sans que ses futures demandes de financement en souffrent. Dans notre pays, le financement étatique couvre un champ très large incluant les films, la télévision, les enregistrements sonores, etc. Pourtant nous n’avons encore que peu d’ententes collectives avec les groupes de producteurs dans plusieurs de ces domaines. Si le gouvernement exigeait que ces entreprises rendent des comptes aux syndicats, nos membres profiteraient beaucoup plus souvent de conditions de travail négociées, avec contributions au régime de retraite et protection syndicale à la clé.

Il sera important d’exercer des pressions activement à ce sujet, à l’échelle locale comme nationale. En effet, malgré des années de représentations, ce dossier stagne toujours. Il serait peut-être temps de nous concerter à tous les niveaux.







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