Music Unions – Local 1000
by Jamie Anderson
Jamie Anderson is a singer, songwriter, comic, who’s toured since the 80’s, singing songs about food, sex and mama. She’s also taught songwriting and other music classes at Duke University, festivals and through arts organizations. Can be bribed with chocolate. “…solid songwriting and engaging stage presence.” — Billboard
I know I’ve blabbed about my union here before but it bears repeating.
If you’re a touring musician and you’d like free legal advice, affordable health insurance, instrument insurance, a pension, and other bennies, you need Local 1000. If you’re a US citizen who plays in Canada, they can help you. Likewise, if you’re a Canadian who wants to play in the US. I have disability insurance for the first time in my life because of this union. And a pension! And it’s all affordable.
Sorry if I sound like a bad commercial but really, I can’t believe that more of you don’t belong. Maybe you have some of the fears I did before I joined. I’ll list a few and let you know the reality.
I’ll have to make bookers pay me some ungodly union wage just to play. Reality: Scale wages are currently $220 for a large concert, $110 for a small concert and $70 for an opener. Does that sound like too much to you? And know that there are no union cops ready to bust you if they think you’ve played a large concert instead of a small one. You make that decision.
I’ll be buried in paperwork. Reality: I filled out ONE form to join. I file a simple monthly form to pay my pension. (I’m incorporated so I pay into my own pension.) A few times a year the union sends me a bill for my work dues.
3. It’ll cost too much.
I already make so little as a touring performer.Reality: It costs a one time fee of $100 US or $130 Canadian. Work dues are very reasonable. My last bill for work dues came to $56 and that was for two months. (You pay a percentage of your income so that amount does vary.)
It’s just a small bunch of disorganized musicians. Reality: Nope. I’ve never had a problem getting answers to questions. I once had a legal problem that got a response the next day. The union is affiliated with the AFM and AFL-CIO; very large unions.
I don’t play music full time so I won’t qualify.Reality: You just have to be a musician who tours. Period.
I can answer questions but it’s best to read the website first. You can also talk to one of the board members. Their addresses are on the website.
And in case you need further incentive, check out who else is a member: Bernice Johnson Reagon, Toshi Reagon, Ani Difranco, Janis Ian, Kim and Reggie Harris, Greg Brown, Pete Seeger, Ember Swift, Peter Yarrow, Laura Love, Tret Fure and many more.
** Our thanks to Jamie for reminding us of Music Unions and that they are a good option.