Lee Ranaldo, Guy Picciotto & more sign letter seeking coronavirus relief for musicians
A new musicians' union, the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers, has formed, and its first objective is to seek aid for musicians affected by the coronavirus pandemic. They've drafted a letter, "MUSICIANS' DEMANDS FOR CARES 2 COVID RELIEF," addressed to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, NY Senator Chuck Schumer, and "all members of the US House and Senate."
"Few of us have received enough support to survive the crisis," the letter reads. "Many states have yet to distribute PUA benefits to self-employed workers, most of us are still awaiting stimulus checks, and our overdue rent, medical debt, student debt, utility bills, food costs, medical costs, and more continue to pile up. Many of us were never even eligible for expanded benefits because of immigration status. Many of us have been out of work since early March. Even when we receive the promised benefits, it will be too little and too late to survive the catastrophe facing our industry."
They ask for an extension of the CARES Act unemployment benefits, "through at least the remainder of 2020," to account for the fact that music venues will be among the last businesses to be allowed to open under any reopening plan; that benefits be made available to anyone American in need, "regardless of their immigration status;" a national rent and mortgage cancellation; emergency supplemental funding for the National Education Association, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Corporation for Public Broadcasting; the expansion of Medicare to cover the whole country; and for the US Post Office to be given the funding it needs to survive.
"The above include the bare minimum needed to ensure that musicians, self-employed people, and all workers are able to survive the COVID crisis and its devastating economic aftermath with dignity," the letter continues. "Musicians and artists perform labor that provides entertainment, comfort, and meaning, for countless Americans, particularly during quarantine. If we are to continue producing through this crisis and afterward, we must have rights, respect, and immediate economic relief."
Downtown Boys, Algiers, of Montreal, Frankie Cosmos, Sammus, Alice Bag, Guy Picciotto, Dan Boeckner, Harry and the Potters, Erica Dawn Lyle, Julia Holter, Nat Baldwin, Mutual Benefit, Mega Bog, Gouge Away, A Hawk and A Hacksaw, DIIV, La Dispute, Half Waif, Lee Ranaldo, Sad13, Speedy Ortiz, Katie Alice Greer, Diet Cig, Tanya Donelly, Mary Lattimore, Hether Fortune, Geoff Rickly, Zola Jesus, War on Women, Moor Mother, Charly Bliss, Baths, WHY?, Torres, Tomberlin, Guerilla Toss, Squirrel Flower, Mannequin Pussy, Long Neck, The Goodbye Party, and Girlpool are among those who've signed the letter, which you can find HERE.
Meanwhile, the union is hosting a livestream on Instagram TODAY (5/4) at 6 PM ET. It's called "This is the Sound of Collective Bargaining Power," and Algiers, DIIV, Evan Greer, Ian O'Neil of Deer Tick and more are set to perform.