This month members of the American Federation of Musicians picketed the Screen Gem studios in Wilmington, N.C., where Marvel (a Walt Disney Co. subsidiary) is shooting “Iron Man 3.”
AFL-CIO, the federation of labor unions, reports AFM musicians are upset because Marvel Entertainment “takes millions of taxpayer film production incentive dollars and then offshores the musical scores in foreign countries under sub-standard conditions. Their latest blockbuster, The Avengers, was filmed stateside with $30 million in tax rebates, but the company fled to Europe to record the film score, escaping payments to musicians’ pension, health care and residual funds.”
Captain America himself might call this un-American. AFM President Ray Hair said the benefits were received by the actors, writers, directors and film crew workers up and down the production line, who apparently have stronger unions or better contracts.
“Marvel lines its pockets with taxpayer money, taking care of everyone who works on their films, except musicians,” Hair said. “Marvel’s actions toward professional musicians are un-American and unfair and we want the world to know it. The AFM-member orchestras in the state – the North Carolina Symphony and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra – could use the work. Marvel is taking tax incentive money that could have been used to hire musicians right here in North Carolina.”
This is another example of corporate welfare gone amok. Companies should not receive millions in tax breaks and then ship jobs overseas.