Tag Archives: theather musicians association

tma conference

2016 TMA Conference in the Nation’s Capitol

Tom MendelWby Tom Mendel, Theatre Musicians Association President Emeritus and Member of AFM Local 10-208 (Chicago, IL)

Our 21st Annual TMA Conference was held at the Loews Madison Hotel in Washington, DC, August 22-23. Lee Lachman of Local 161-710 (Washington, DC) (on behalf of TMA Washington, DC, Chapter President Paul Schultz), Local 161-710 President Ed Malaga, and myself welcomed the attendees.

AFM President Ray Hair spoke about the 100th AFM Convention, his history bargaining and negotiating in Dallas and Ft. Worth, Pamphlet B, and fairness for subs and alternates in orchestras.

In my president’s report, I stated the theme of this conference: the Future of TMA. Two hours of the afternoon session were devoted to a round-table discussion of this topic. I reported on the Pamphlet B negotiations in which TMA has a very active role; the formation a Keyboard Subbing Committee because of what we consider unfavorable practices involving keyboard subs; the formation of the TMA Officers & Members Video Training Committee to produce training videos for TMA officers and members on select subjects such as running a meeting, use of social media, and more. These will be great learning tools located in our TMA Officers Toolbox. I gave a PowerPoint demonstration of a new video on membership recruitment and retention.

I read TMA resolutions of recognition to Carla Lehmeier-Tatum of Local 618 (Albuquerque, NM) for nine years of service as ROPA president and Bruce Ridge of Local 500 (Raleigh, NC) for 10 years of service as ICSOM chair. OCSM President Robert Fraser of Local 247 (Victoria, BC) and Ridge gave eloquent player conference reports. Ridge read an ICSOM resolution recognizing me for my years of service with TMA. I read a report from new ROPA President Mike Smith of Local 30-73 (Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN). Local 161-710 treated conference attendees to a delicious lunch.

AFM Touring/Theatre/Booking and Immigration Director Michael Manley gave a report on Pamphlet B negotiations. He compared data from current “full” Pamphlet B tours and those touring on the SET Agreement. He also described the work his office truly does and the people working in it.

TMA Chapter, Broadway, Membership-at-Large, and Traveler Director reports followed. Legislative Chair Walter Usiatynski of Local 802 (New York City) and Chapter and Membership Recruitment Chair Debbie Brooks of Local 72-147 (Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX) gave standing reports. Lovie Smith-Wright of Local 65-699 (Houston, TX) and 60-471 (Pittsburgh, PA) gave the Diversity Committee report.

tma conference

AFM President Ray Hair addresses the TMA Conference while then TMA President Tom Mendel listens on.

TMA Parliamentarian Paul Castillo of Locals 47 (Los Angeles, CA) and 353 (Long Beach, CA) introduced and moderated the Future of TMA round-table discussion, which resulted in three areas for TMA Executive Board consideration.

The second day began with the executive board report. TMA Webmaster Stephen Green of Locals 47 and 7 (Orange County, CA) gave his report. Newly elected AFM Secretary-Treasurer Jay Blumenthal gave brief introductory remarks. AFM IEB Member and Local 802 President Tino Gagliardi spoke about the new Local 802 Broadway contract. He reported that there were more than 300 musicians working on Broadway contracts.

Local 161-710 President Malaga and Executive Board Member Patrick Plunk gave a special report on organizing the Olney Theatre and its successful effort to become unionized.

Elections results were as follows: President Tony D’Amico of Locals 9-535 (Boston, MA) and 198-457 (Providence, RI); Vice President Paul Castillo; Secretary-Treasurer Mark Pinto of Locals 9-535, 198-457, and 126 (Lynn, MA); Broadway Director Jan Mullen of Local 802; Membership-at-Large Director Lovie Smith-Wright; and Travelers Director Angela Chan of Local 369 (Las Vegas, NV).

Chapter directors elected locally include: Walt Bostian (Boston) of Locals 9-535, 126, and 198-457; Heather Boehm (Chicago) of Local 10-208 (Chicago, IL); Alan Ayoub (Detroit) of Local 5 (Detroit, MI); David Philippus (Las Vegas) of Local 369; Steve Sanders (Northern California) of Local 6 (San Francisco, CA); Jeff Martin (Phoenix) of Local 586 (Phoenix, AZ); Stephen Green (Southern California); Vicky Smolik (St. Louis) of Local 2-197 (St. Louis, MO); and Paul Schultz (Washington, DC) of Local 161-710.

AFM President Ray Hair swore in all officers, chapter directors, and alternates present. Congratulations to Tony D’Amico, Paul Castillo, Mark Pinto, and the executive board on their elections. We are in great hands. TMA’s future is bright!

It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve as TMA president for the past  five years. I extend a special thanks to TMA vice presidents Walter Usiatynski (2013-2016) and Michael Manley (2011-2013) and secretary-treasurers Mark Pinto (2012-present) and Local 10-208 member Leo Murphy (2011-2012) for their outstanding service to TMA. I also thank all of the past and present members of the executive board for their service. TMA is a voluntary organization. The time and effort given by our local and national representatives is greatly appreciated.

Is Your Local Represented

Player Conferences — What Are They, and What’s Going on with TMA?

Occasionally, I have gone to speak to college music classes about the union, player conferences, and specifically the Theatre Musicians Association (TMA). Most of the students have inaccurate ideas about the union (AFM) and little or no knowledge of player conferences. This, of course, was the reason that I was there.

Each time I’ve done this, I’ve felt that the students not only enjoyed our presentation, but were also grateful for an honest representation of what’s really going on out there. However, I am surprised to encounter many union musicians, especially some who are performing in theatre pits, who have no idea about player conferences and their role in the AFM. I would like to illuminate folks on this issue. This may be redundant to some, but I hope informative to others.

In the AFM Bylaws, a player conference is defined as “A conference composed of representatives of member-musicians in specialized fields of employment.” Unlike the AFM and its locals, a player conference dedicates 100% of its focus on the genre it represents, i.e. theatre, orchestra, recording. There are five official player conferences in the AFM: International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM), Regional Orchestra Players Association (ROPA), Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM), Recording Musicians Association (RMA), and Theatre Musicians Association (TMA). Each player conference shares the common thread of having been formed by a group of musicians who desired focused representation of their group within the AFM.

The Player Conferences Council (PCC) comprises one representative from each of the five player conferences. The PCC meets several times each year via e-mail or teleconference to discuss what’s going on with their individual conferences, as well as mutual issues and concerns. It also meets annually (in non-AFM Convention years) with the Locals Conference Council (LCC). As stated in the AFM Bylaws, “The purpose of these councils is to exchange information and ideas on appropriate subjects regarding the good and welfare of the AFM, its locals, and its members.”

Speaking for TMA, I can honestly say that we have a great relationship with the AFM. AFM President Hair, the International Executive Board (IEB), and the AFM Touring/Theatre/Booking Division consult and keep us in the loop with all AFM theatre-related issues.

Player ConferencesTMA is a member of the AFM Pamphlet B Negotiating Committee, which is the contract for AFM musical theatre touring musicians. TMA also has its own Pamphlet B Committee, currently headed by TMA Vice President Walter Usiatynski, which prepares for the negotiations more than a year in advance. It does so through surveying our traveling and local members and one-on-one discussions with traveling musicians when they play shows in the jurisdiction of one of our chapters. We also compare notes with the AFM Touring/Theatre/Booking Division, headed by Michael Manley. He sends out a survey to touring musicians as well.

The AFM and the Broadway Theatre League have recently finished the first round of the 2016 Pamphlet B negotiations. TMA has a very active role on the negotiating team as it did in the previous negotiations in 2012. The present negotiations are scheduled to continue in July, after the AFM Convention.

TMA would like to congratulate the AFM on its historic 100th Convention! It will be held in Las Vegas, July 20-24. As a member of the PCC, TMA is allowed to address the AFM Convention. We will be speaking Monday, June 20.

I am proud to announce that the 21st Annual TMA Conference will be held August 22-23, 2016 in Washington, DC, at the Loews Madison Hotel. The Washington, DC, location was chosen to honor one of our newest chapters. We hope that you will be able to attend.

TMA is the AFM Player Conference devoted solely to issues and concerns of theatre musicians. We’re a voluntary organization. If you’re a theatre musician in the AFM, doesn’t it make sense to be a TMA member?