Disaffiliation from AFM: Guild files request in Superior Court

Montreal, September 16, 2014. – The Guilde des musiciens et musiciennes du Québec's Board of Directors filed a request in Québec Superior Court to obtain a declaratory judgment clarifying the steps required to disaffiliate from the AFM.

The purpose of this action is to have the Court establish the rules for carrying out in a responsible, orderly and non-conflictual manner the wishes expressed by Guild members during the referendum this past June.

The courts recognize that there is now a new way to clear up a legal question within a reasonable time-frame and at a reasonable cost. Section 453 of the Québec Code of Civil Procedure stipulates that:

453. Any person who has an interest in having determined, for the resolution of a genuine problem, either his or her status or any right, power or obligation the person may have under a contract, a will or any other written instrument, a statute, an order in council, or a by-law or resolution of a municipality, may, by way of a motion to institute proceedings, ask for a declaratory judgment in that regard.

THE DECISIONS THE REQUEST SEEKS TO OBTAIN:

The Guild would like the Superior Court to:

- declare that the Guild has the authority to terminate its contract of affiliation following the consultative referendum held among members in June;

- declare invalid several sections of the AFM's by-laws because they are contradictory to our laws, in particular the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Act respecting Professional Unions and provincial and federal laws governing the status of the artist;

- declare that the contributions by producers to the Musicians' Pension Fund of Canada may continue to be accepted following disaffiliation and that should the Board of Trustees decide to refuse to accept them, they must provide notice of same five (5) years in advance.

WHILE WAITING FOR THE COURT'S DECISION: AFFILIATION AND SERVICES TO BE MAINTAINED

The Guild agrees to voluntarily maintain the status quo regarding our affiliation with the AFM until its request for a declaratory judgment is settled by the Court. Obviously, the same holds true for services provided to members by the Guild.

During this period, the Guild's executive will work actively and responsibly to prepare for an orderly and efficient transition in organizing our services and defending the best interests of our members in managing contracts and securing benefits. The Guild will also continue to be active in the field by creating more opportunities for meetings and discussions.

We will of course continue to keep you informed of developments in this case.


REVIEW OF EVENTS SINCE THE REFERENDUM

A VOTE IN FAVOUR OF DISAFFILIATION

More than 2,000 members, representing a participation rate of 70%, cast their votes during the widest consultation of members in our history. During the referendum period, which was held from June 2 to 8, 2014 under the supervision of Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, 53.3% of those participating voted in favour of disaffiliation from the American Federation of Musicians (AFM).

EXCHANGES BETWEEN THE AFM AND THE GMMQ

In the days following the vote, discussions were held between the GMMQ and the AFM. These discussions revealed once again that the AFM refuses to recognize the Guild's autonomy as the exclusive negotiating agent for professional musicians in Québec, as required by the Act respecting the Professional Status and Conditions of Engagement of Performing, Recording and Film Artists and, above all, that the AFM refuses to recognize the validity of our members' vote.

GUARANTEES BY THE PENSION FUND

Throughout the referendum process the Musicians' Pension Fund of Canada refused to take a clear position prior to the results of the vote with regard to maintaining the contributions of Québec musicians in the event of disaffiliation from the AFM.

However, since then the Fund has recognized that it would like to keep the contributions of its Québec members and that if it stopped accepting contributions from Québec there would be significant repercussions on the health of the Pension Fund for all participant in the Fund across Canada. Continuing to participate in the Fund would therefore appear to be in the best interests of all Canadian participants and beneficiaries and the trustees should act accordingly.

LIFTING OF THE TRUSTEESHIP OF THE VANCOUVER MUSICIANS' ASSOCIATION

The Vancouver Musicians' Association (local 145) was placed under trusteeship by the AFM 14 months ago under the pretext that the local had negotiated an agreement for recording film music without obtaining prior approval from the AFM. In a judgment handed down on September 11, 2014, the Supreme Court of British Columbia lifted the unjust trusteeship imposed by the AFM and ruled in favour of local 145, primarily by declaring Article 15 (section 6b) of the AFM's by-laws invalid:

Article 15 section 6b declared inapplicable by the Court:

"Locals may not enter into any contract or agreement with any person, firm, or corporation providing for any type of electronic media production without prior written approval from the International President's Office."

This is precisely one of the conclusions the GMMQ hopes to obtain in its request for a declaratory judgment.

Read the article by Ian Mulgrew published in the Vancouver Sun

KEEP INFORMED: WWW.REFERENDUM-GUILDE.COM

For any question, please contact us at communications@gmmq.com