Sour Note

“Transparent” Musicians Claim They’re Being Shut Out Of Union Benefits


Transparent has been lauded for its inclusiveness, but musicians working on the show claim Amazon Studios is stonewalling their ability to unionize.

Los Angeles Times is reporting that a musicians’ union is calling foul on Transparent and Amazon Studios for shutting them out when it comes to benefits:

The American Federation of Musicians’ Local 47 is arguing that while “Transparent’s” actors, writers, directors and crew members receive union wages and other benefits, musicians who work on the hit series are being shut out of a labor contract.

“Musicians are the only workers being treated differently, and we don’t think that’s right,” said Local 47 President John Acosta in a release Wednesday. “We aren’t asking for huge wage increases, or extravagant bonuses. All we want is to be offered a fair contract in line with the industry standard.” Speaking by phone, Acosta said that the union tried repeatedly to reach the series. “At first they were very open,” he said. But as weeks passed, “the less responsive they became.” He said a lawyer representing “Transparent” eventually said that the show wouldn’t recognize the union.

Amazon Studios didn’t respond to a request from the Times for comment. However, LGBT-focused labor group Pride At Work did speak out about the issue. Executive Director Jerame Davis expressed disappointment at the irony of the situation:

“It is unfortunate that a show that portrays the transgender community in such a welcoming and positive light would simultaneously treat a portion of its professional staff so unfairly.”

Unfortunate, indeed. Perhaps before taking another awards show victory lap and patting themselves on the back for their inclusiveness, Amazon Studios should pony up and pay their musicians what they deserve.

It’s only fair.