In early December, the West Coast Music Alliance (WCMA) sent out a notice that it will start accepting submissions on January 8th, for performance opportunities at its annual festival: BreakOut West (BOW), an event which features an industry conference, an opening day concert and various live performances in public venues.
WCMA/BOW remains on the AFM’s International Unfair List for the reasons detailed below. All members are notified now, that they are not to apply for, nor, accept any performance at BOW 2018.
Since May of last year, the union has been reporting its attempts at negotiating a successor agreement with the WCMA. Unfortunately, the WCMA continues to refuse to bargain. Without a collective agreement in place, you, the musicians, on which the Festival is based, are not guaranteed reasonable fees and pension. Additionally, there is no language preventing the WCMA or broadcasters from recording, broadcasting or otherwise exploiting your performances without proper remuneration.
Despite receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in combined subsidies from government grants and corporate sponsors, WCMA have stated that musicians should not consider Breakout West a gig; they should consider it a ‘networking opportunity’ – however sound/stage crew receive guarantees. Ticketed events, in public venues, are not showcases, they are gigs – if the sound person receives a guarantee, so should you!
The CFM is affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), and we have simply asked the WCMA to meet the CLC’s national push for “$15/hr and Fairness”, based on a 4-hour minimum call, which would see musicians earn at minimum $60 (each) for their performance, noting that certain headline musicians performing the concert portion of the festival are paid high guarantees.
All Canadians deserve to be paid for their work and this must include professional musicians. This is a simple matter of social justice and WCMA’s continued reluctance to meet this minimum standard is unacceptable. We continue to ask, as should you: Where is all that money going? Musicians have to eat, like everyone else.
Vice President from Canada