New Musicians’ Union Goes to Congress for COVID-19 Relief

Members of Charly Bliss, Sonic Youth, Diet Cig, and more signed a letter to Congress from the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers.

Musicians, DJs, road crew, and gig workers of the music industry have a new friend in the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW). The new union was formed to represent music workers devastated from the coronavirus pandemic, which brought the industry to a screeching halt back in March.

The UMAW’s first order of business: a letter drafted to Congress with a list of demands topped by extended benefits in the next congressional relief package.

“Musicians and all gig workers are struggling hard right now,” co-organizer and Downtown Boys member Joey La Neve DeFrancesco said in a press statement. “Rent is due, bills are due, debt is piling up, and many of us still haven’t gotten any financial support. We need more immediately if we’re going to survive.”

Among the demands found in the letter to Congress: an extension of the CARES Act unemployment benefits, national rent and mortgage cancellation, and that “the US Post Office be given all necessary funding, with no rate increases and no privatization. The Post Office is a necessity for musicians and other artists who ship recorded music and other merchandise.” See the full letter here.

Musicians and related gig workers are encouraged to check in at the UMAW website, where the letter to Congress, find resources and get involved in the movement.

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