Musical artists guild assails AFTRA

AGMA says it's unfair for members to have to join two unions

HOLLYWOOD — The American Guild of Musical Artists has launched an assault on the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists and AFTRA’s jurisdiction over some broadcasts of operas and ballets.

The AGMA, which reps about 6,000 singers, dancers and production personnel, has threatened to take the dispute to the National Labor Relations Board. The guild contends it’s unfair for AGMA members to be forced to join a second union to cover broadcasts and insists it has been able to land better broadcast deals for its members.

“While they do receive additional compensation if their performances are broadcast, typically most of these extra earnings are eaten up by the obligation to pay a second set of dues to AFTRA,” AGMA said.

Greg Hessinger, AFTRA’s national exec director, blasted AGMA for blindsiding his union about the dispute. “This is a brazen attack by AGMA, which has made no attempt to sit down with us,” he said.

Hessinger blamed AGMA counterpart Alan Gordon for raising the issue and claimed AFTRA has not received any complaints from AGMA members. “This is a desperate act by one man who is solely concerned about advancing his personal agenda,” he added.

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