“Hello, Mr. Viapiano?”
“This is Musician’s Local 47 and I’m calling today to tell you that if you don’t pay Local 7’s fee in order to resign in good standing, we’ll be forced to drop you from membership.”
So began a recent phone call from my local chapter of the musician’s union, Professional Musicians Local 47 located in Los Angeles.
It all began a few years ago when I joined another local (in addition to my LA membership), Orange County’s Local 7. You see, each city or region around the country has a local chapter that’s responsible for dealing with musicians’ issues in that area. When musicians move to a new city, they usually join the local chapter in order to derive the benefits of working there. In my case, although I had been a member of LA’s local for more than 20 years, I had an 8-week job coming up in Orange County, which meant I needed to join their chapter, too.
After that gig was over, I had no reason to continue to belong. I never work there, it’s too far to drive when I have plenty of work here in LA, and why not save the over $100 a year it costs to belong, so I didn’t pay my membership fee the next time it came due. Well, it’s not as easy as it would seem. You have to resign in writing, because if you don’t and it comes time to pay up, you’ll be expelled!
Big deal, right?
Well, it seems there’s this little by-law from musicians’ headquarters in New York (believe me, that’s a story for another day) that says no member who has been expelled can be a member anywhere else. Is there a way around this ridiculous rule? Sure, please remit the appropriate fee of $115 and you can resign in good standing.
I’m surprised the letter from the OC people didn’t come with cut-up letters from magazines and newspapers because it sure sounded like ransom to me.
So I paid up; what could I do? And get this…they send me a letter telling me they reviewed my request and payment at a board meeting, and it was passed and seconded to accept the payment and allow me to resign in good standing.
Not much to do down in Orange County, is there?