The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) is a group of organizers who’ve collaborated on campaigns, fundraisers, educational materials, benefit compilations, and shows, among other actions to secure a fairer future for musicians and those who work alongside them. Issues they address include demanding fairer deals from streaming services, ensuring musicians receive the royalties they are owed, establishing more just relationships with labels, and creating safer guidelines for venues.
The organization has national subcommittees that discuss labor issues in Venues, Labels, Streaming, Police Abolition, Political Education, Immigration, and Classical Music Accountability. There are also social groups for Black, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ members (and more in the works), and a number of groups that help the Union function smoothly (Web, Communications, Membership, Community Accountability).
Recently, there have been a number of regionally focused groups, inspired especially by UMAW Chicago, the union’s first local which has many subcommittees as well.
Members of the Austin music community have shown interest in working towards a UMAW chapter in Austin. If you’d like to come to meetings to talk through what UMAW Austin could be and do, what projects you’d like to focus on, and receive emails as they make progress on starting an official group, sign up here.
– Shannon Lee Byrne