Of Montreal, Frankie Cosmos, Speedy Ortiz, Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto, Geoff Rickly of Thursday and Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo are just some of the musicians who have signed a new letter calling Congress to provide more aid to musicians who have been financially affected during the global pandemic.
Put together by the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW), they are seeking an extension on the CARES Act unemployment benefits regardless of immigration status, national rent and mortgage cancellation, emergency supplemental funding, expanded Medicare, USPS funding.
“Many of us have been out of work since early March,” the letter said. “Even when we receive the promised benefits, it will be too little and too late to survive the catastrophe facing our industry.”
The letter also added that “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.”
Erica Dawn Lyle of Bikini Kill and AquaShade, Eve 6, Sammus, Downtown Boys, DJ Haram, Gauche, Harry and the Potters, Dogbreath, Potty Mouth, Mutual Benefit, Algiers, Half Waif, Diet Cig, Hether Fortune and Zola Jesus have also signed the letter.
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Our first campaign is a letter of demands for the next COVID relief package. Check the full letter and sign at unionofmusicians.org Our demands are: 1. We demand an extension of CARES Act unemployment benefits, including Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, through at least the remainder of 2020. Live music will be one of the last businesses to reopen, and music workers will need support until that happens. 2. We demand the extension of benefits to all Americans in need, regardless of their immigration status. 3. We demand a national rent and mortgage cancellation for all for the duration of the crisis, in order to ensure housing security, and to save our music venues, small businesses, and non-profits. 4. We demand emergency supplemental funding to the NEA, NEH, and CPB, and that the new relief package authorize emergency regranting to individuals. 5. We demand that Medicare be expanded immediately to cover everyone in the country. 6. We demand 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.
You can read and sign the letter here.
A few months ago, another group of musicians signed a letter urging Congress to support creatives with unemployment benefits as the pandemic began to rage.