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.
May 16, 2016IM -
On March 6 of last year, following nearly three years of lobbying and negotiation between music stakeholders (represented by the AFM) and DOT officials, details of the rules for bringing musical instruments onboard US airlines were announced. Though musicians are experiencing less problems since the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, the regulation is only effective if the airline crew is ready and willing to abide by its rules. Among those guidelines, US carriers are required to allow passengers to board with small musical instruments, like a violin, provided it could be stored in an overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you.
On April 17 internationally acclaimed violinist and Local 20-208 (Chicago, IL) member Rachel Barton Pine was denied boarding with her violin—a 1742 Joseph Guarneri “del Gesu” violin. The instrument, insured for $20 million, is on lifetime loan from an anonymous benefactor. Pine was the first person down the jetway to her American Airlines flight, and her only other carry-on was her purse. It was the pilot who eyed her violin and stated he would not allow it on his plane. She tried to explain that it would fit (as it had many times before) in the overhead compartment and tried to restate American Airline’s own policy, in line with the FAA Modernization and Reform Act.
The pilot simply stated: “It is not going on because I say so.” Pine was forced to take another flight in the morning where her violin was easily accommodated in the overhead compartment.
“The Department of Transportation and the airlines have established important policies to protect musical instruments. However, those policies are meaningless if they are not enforced, or if the airline staff and crews are not properly educated and trained,” she says.