Netflix’s Music Supervisors, in collaboration with IATSE, filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seeking a union certification election on Monday. The move comes after an overwhelming majority of music supervisors currently or recently employed by Netflix requested voluntary recognition of their union from the company, a request Netflix has declined.
Music Supervisors are the craftspeople who specialize in storytelling through music. Their responsibilities include curating the music used in a project, guiding the creation of original songs, working closely with composers, and securing licensing for the use of a project’s music. Their creative vision is behind some of the most beloved moments in film and television. But, as the importance of music in media has grown, their responsibilities have expanded, their conditions have deteriorated, and their pay has stagnated. The terms of their employment do not reflect their increased workload or the cultural impact of their work.
Earlier this year, the AMPTP refused to recognize film and television Music Supervisors’ collective decision to unionize industry-wide, despite more than 75 percent supporting unionizing with IATSE. Netflix is presently the largest employer of Music Supervisors out of any studio in the AMPTP. The company has recently enjoyed critical acclaim for its prioritization of music in its productions, notably when the placement of Kate Bush‘s 1985 hit “Running Up That Hill” in the Emmy-winning series Stranger Things led the song to reach #1 on several influential music charts internationally.
Despite this cultural influence, Music Supervisors are joining together to set standards and address longstanding issues for those in the craft, including:
- Be treated fairly and equitably compared to their unionized co-workers
- Gain access to Industry Healthcare and Retirement plans
- Standardize Pay Rates to tamp down on discrimination and pay disparities
- Address structures that enable studios to delay workers’ pay for months at a time
- Have a seat at the table to negotiate with employers in good faith
- Win an enforceable and codified union contract.
This is the first time Music Supervisors have taken their case to the labor board, where they intend to win an opportunity to make their voices heard through a democratic, official board election.