Meeting held to consider affiliating with Teamsters

An initial meeting to unionize composers and lyricists working in film and TV has drawn about 400 attendees with half of those signing authorization cards.

The Monday night informational meeting at the Pickwick conference center in Burbank was held for composers and lyricists to consider the possibility of affiliating with Intl. Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 399.

Composers and lyricists are among the few Hollywood creatives without a collective bargaining agreement. Services like orchestration, conducting and music performance are covered by American Federation of Musicians (AFM) agreements, but not the act of writing music or lyrics.

Steve Dayan, organizer for Local 399 of the Intl. Brotherhood of Teamsters, told Daily Variety that efforts to organize the composers and lyricists are at an early stage and will require a series of meetings. He estimated that about 900 people would be covered should the unionization drive succeed.

“They are in the process of learning about us,” he added.

Organizers of the unionization drive have complained that composers must write more music than they did 30 years ago for far less pay. The two groups were represented in the late 1950s and 1960s by the Composers & Lyricists Guild of America, but after a 1971 strike and a 1972 lawsuit against the studios and networks over music-ownership rights, companies refused to negotiate with them.

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