Interesting Jennifer Medina account of mariachi musicians trying to organize to prevent wage competition:
Mariachi Plaza is a sort of day-labor center for musicians, and the mariachis will quickly gather around passers-by, a horde of them jostling to get their business card into the hand of the would-be customer. The leaders encourage the customer to hire the full band, typically six musicians, and will belt out a tune or two as an enticement. The going rate here has been about $50 an hour per musician for more than a decade, but when business began to dry up and newer musicians moved in a few years ago, competition became far more intense. Some were willing to drop their price to $30 an hour, and shouting matches over who would get the infrequent jobs would occasionally turn into fistfights. Now, roughly 200 mariachis have joined the United Mariachi Organization of Los Angeles, a group that formed to set a minimum price in the plaza. To join, musicians must pay $10 a month and pledge not to charge less than $50 an hour. In return, they receive a gold-colored picture identification card, which leaders hope customers will recognize as a badge of authenticity.
This seems to imply that real wages in the mariachi sector were falling steadily even before the recession, which is interesting.