Damon Krukowski talks UMAW with the New York Times
A New York Times article 5 Notes From a Quiet Year: How Music Survived the Pandemic contains a piece from Damon talking about how the inate social nature of musicians led them to take advantage of the pandemic to form the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) when it became clear just how much of an impact the pandemic was having on musicians income.
All year, locked out from touring, we did what workers before us have done. We researched and talked about our industry’s structure and made plans — things we would never have been able to do from the back of a van. Our first action was to join many other organizations in successfully lobbying Congress to include gig workers in pandemic unemployment assistance. The second, started in October, is called Justice at Spotify: a set of demands asking the company to include musicians’ material interests in its goals and practices.
Working with other musicians to help build the U.M.A.W. has, for me, been an uplifting experience in depressing times. Many of the other members are close to half my age, and I’ve been continually inspired by their energy, their care for one another, their fury at injustice. Passions sometimes spill over, as they do in bands, but the way these younger musicians model both giving and demanding respect is something I don’t remember learning so well anywhere else — definitely not in my era’s indie-rock scene, anyway.