Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.

As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.

The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.

Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit www.afm.org/join.

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Articles, Orchestra News

Coalition of Unions Stands Up to Disney

For at least 30 years, we at Local 7 (Orange County, CA) have been scratching our heads wondering why unions that bargain with Disneyland don’t put their heads together, exchange information, and support one another. As it turns out, other unions have been thinking the same thing.


Advocacy and Pension Reform Take Precedence in Washington, DC

As AFM members are confronted with the uncertainties of both tax and pension reform, AFM President Ray Hair has refocused the work of the union’s Office of Government Relations to maximize its visibility and effectiveness relating to issues that impact our jobs and lives.


Fiddler David Varnado Reels in Awards

A third-generation fiddler, David Varnado knew at five years old what he was destined to do. Looking over his father’s shoulder, he says, “I’d see where he was laying his fingers. That’s how I learned to play.”


Sam Bush: Storyman


Bush, a Local 257 (Nashville, TN) member, cherishes the art of co-writing, and for Storyman he co-wrote every song. Among his collaborators were Jeff Black, Emmylou Harris of Local 161-710 (Washington, DC) and master of songwriting, the late Guy Clark. And, Bush’s entire band contributed to the tune “It’s Not What You Think.” Among guest […]




Motion Picture and TV Film Agreements: One-Year Deal, 3% Raise

I am pleased to report that on March 9, after a week of intense negotiations, an agreement was reached with major Hollywood-based film producers and their television film counterparts to extend the existing Theatrical and Motion Picture Film Agreements for one year with a 3% increase in wages. Upon ratification, the extension and wage increase will become effective April 5, 2018.


Canadian Multi-Instrumentalist Performs on Both Sides of the Border

A versatile instrumentalist, Suzie Vinnick of Local 180 (Ottawa, ON) has won 10 Canadian MapleBlues Awards for vocals, acoustic artist, bassist, and songwriter and a Canadian Folk Music Award for contemporary vocalist. Though she considers herself a roots musician, she dabbles in many styles.


Tai Chi and the Musician: How This Martial Art Could Help Your Career

The life of a professional musician is mentally and physically demanding. A musician’s mind is taxed with the need to memorize complex music, spontaneously improvise, and maintain focus during performance, all while putting repetitive strain on the body from hours of practice. While studying for his master’s degree, musician Joe Rea Phillips discovered the benefits of martial arts for musicians.


Local 802 Awards First Grant to Emerging Artists

Local 802 (New York City)’s new grant program, the Emerging Artists Project, is poised to award its inaugural grant after a long selection process. Sixteen highly esteemed musicians listened to and rated all the applicants and an in-house committee evaluated the application materials (performance history, business plan, audience base, social justice, and education components).


Community Engagement Is Essential to Our Mission

In these complex times, it is more important than ever for all musicians and concerned citizens to remain engaged in our communities—and if possible, take things up a notch.


Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Completes Amicable Contract Negotiations

Musicians and management of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra announced in early March that they had reached agreement on a three-year contract extension through the 2020-2021 season. Reflecting a renewed sense of collaboration and trust between the two sides, the negotiation process was conducted quietly and the agreement was reached six months ahead of schedule.








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