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.
October 1, 2014IM -
New York City jazz artists and their supporters testified before the City Council Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations and Committee on Civil Service & Labor requesting they endorse Resolution 207-A in support of Local 802’s (New York City) Justice for Jazz Artists Campaign. Some of the world’s best jazz artists spend their lives working in New York’s prestigious and profitable jazz clubs, yet are denied basic benefits and pension, and are left to retire in poverty. Justice for Jazz Artists is dedicated to remedying that situation.
The AFM explained that the owners of clubs such as Birdland, the Blue Note, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Jazz Standard, and the Village Vanguard reneged on a 2006 promise to pay pension benefits, in exchange for a tax break. “If clubs had implemented this plan five years ago, there would already have been up to $3 million redirected into a fund for musicians. That money would have gone a long way to helping people who have no savings to begin a retirement plan for themselves and their families. This money not only helps musicians, it helps to keep the music alive,” says Local 802 member and NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Owens who also performed “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” on flugelhorn for the council members.
The resolution was co-sponsored by City Council members Jimmy Van Bramer, Laurie Cumbo, and Corey Johnson. “Jazz artists—both past and present—have significantly contributed to the unique cultural experience that attracts tourists and locals to venues across New York City. These men and women are hard-working musicians who deserve economic stability and security to support themselves and their families. I look forward to working with my colleagues to protect the livelihood of musicians and ensure that the arts continue to flourish within our communities,” says Cumbo.
Local 802 Recording Vice President John O’Connor and AFL-CIO New York City Central Labor Council Representative Alex Gleason also testified. “Local 802 is eager to work with any nightclub willing to do the right thing,” says O’Connor. “We appeal to the City Council to pass Resolution 207-A to draw attention to this longstanding problem and help these deserving musicians to correct this injustice.”