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



jay blumenthal

Jay Blumenthal – AFM International Secretary-Treasurer

    Union Plus Mortgage Company: New Mortgage Option for Union Members

    by Jay Blumenthal, AFM International Secretary-Treasurer

    There is a new and different mortgage brokerage company available to many AFM members: the Union Plus Mortgage Company (UPMC). What makes it different from other mortgage companies is that it is owned by the AFL-CIO, Union Plus, and a group of affiliated unions (including the AFM). The revenue generated by UPMC belongs to the labor movement—not the big banks or Wall Street. UPMC offers a variety of financing options—Federal Housing Administration loans (FHA), VA loans, 15- and 30-year fixed rate loans, and adjustable rate loans.

    Currently, the UPMC is licensed in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington DC, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. If you are seeking to purchase a property in one of these states, the Union Plus Mortgage Company may be an option you wish to consider. To find out if a state where you wish to purchase a property has been added to the list or to learn more, go to the UPMC website

    One year after obtaining a UMPC mortgage loan, union members can benefit from the Union Plus Mortgage Assistance Program. This program provides hardship mortgage assistance in the event of income loss due to disability, unemployment, or strike/lockout. And a new mortgage customer can expect to receive a $500 Visa gift card after closing!

    “As a mortgage broker, UPMC shops the top lenders in the country to find the best mortgage rates and products for its union customers. The UPMC team members have an average of 18 years’ experience in the mortgage industry, and as the company grows, the staff and loan officers’ right to union representation will be supported and encouraged. The program is available to active and retired union members as well as spouses (or domestic partners), parents, and children of those union members.”

    Note: The AFL-CIO, Union Privilege and a group of unions own Union Plus Mortgage Company and will benefit if you get your loan through the company. However, you are not required to use Union Plus Mortgage for your loan and are free to shop. For your Affiliated Business Arrangement Disclosure Statement please visit

    IM Ad Revenue and NAMM

    Last year I attended the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show in Anaheim, California, for the purpose of meeting and thanking our current advertisers and soliciting new advertisers for the International Musician (see “NAMM Show Hits the Mark!” IM March 2017). I’m pleased to report that the leg work at NAMM, done in conjunction with the amazing staff at Bentley-Hall (the company that produces the International Musician) resulted in a 10% increase in IM advertising billing last year, surpassing our 7% goal.

    This positive result played heavily in my decision to attend this year’s show, which took place in January. It’s difficult to know whether this year’s attendance will produce the same positive results as last year, but time will tell.

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    Looking Forward to a Productive 2018

    by Jay Blumenthal, AFM International Secretary-Treasurerjay blumenthal

    As we begin the New Year, AFM President Ray Hair and I continue to negotiate for the possible purchase of a floor in a building that could eventually become our long sought after AFM headquarters. The building is located in downtown Manhattan. While obstacles remain, we continue to explore options that may eventually lead to an agreement. A final decision must be made soon as there is only one year left on our current lease at 1501 Broadway and it may take a good part of a year to build out any newly purchased space.


    A project slated for 2018 (due to the possible move) is the scanning of paper documents in the New York Office. Over decades, the retention of paper has become untenable. Currently, there are approximately 52 five-drawer file cabinets (each 5.5 X 3.5 feet wide) located in the office hallways, along with additional cabinets located in some directors’ offices. We also have off-site storage space that archives older documents needed in the event recorded music is reused. For now, the scanning project will focus on documents housed in the New York Office, rather than off-site storage, as these are the documents that would require moving to a new space.

    IM Survey

    Collating the International Musician survey results is another project scheduled for early 2018. Many of the 4,254 respondents included comments. It will take some time to organize and analyze the data but we are working on it.

    Fiscal Year End

    Now that the AFM’s fiscal year has concluded, the finance department is busy closing out the year and preparing for our annual audit. Preparation of the Department of Labor (LM-2) report will begin shortly as the report is due at the end of the first quarter (March 31).

    #MeToo Movement

    Recent workplace sexual harassment allegations have been shocking and eye-opening to say the least. It has touched many lives, in many industries, including our own entertainment industry. Employees in the arts are particularly vulnerable because so much of our work is dependent upon subjective decisions. Often employment opportunities come by way of a simple hiring phone call (or not) for the next gig, allowing for the subtle diminishment of work opportunities.

    Many courageous women and men have now spoken out, risking their careers to bring an end to this unacceptable and illegal behavior. Abusers in powerful leadership positions have fallen and I am sure there will be more to come.

    Recently, Barry Diller, chair and senior executive of InterActiveCorp (IAC) and Expedia, Inc., was interviewed by Christiane Amanpour. He referred to the #MeToo movement as the “great reckoning.” Aptly put, the “great reckoning” is long overdue.

    Sexual harassment is a violation that sears itself into the memory of the victim. Now that the light of day has been focused on the perpetrators’ terrible abuse of power and the recognition that the consequences for engaging in this behavior are severe, it is my hope that an end can be brought to this intolerable and illegal behavior. All of us need to take an active role to help bring change. A simple but important first step might begin in the home by modeling respectful behavior for all people so our children can see and internalize it.

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    End of Year Updates

    Voluntary Compliance Program

    Labor law compliance oversight is an important Department of Labor (DOL) responsibility. The magnitude of the task becomes evident if you add up all the locals in all the unions across the US that require oversight. As you can see, the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) has a daunting task of making sure unions are complying with the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). Labor organizations are required to file annual financial Labor-Management (LM) reports within 90 days after the end of their fiscal year. In general, AFM local officers act responsibly, performing this official duty in a timely fashion; however, from time to time some locals are delinquent.

    The AFM participates in a Voluntary Compliance Partnership Program that affords national and/or international unions an opportunity to assist the DOL in obtaining delinquent affiliate reports. Each quarter the AFM receives a list of delinquent locals. We are requested to assist the DOL in getting the report filed or updating local officer contact information so the DOL can contact the officers directly. The AFM and the DOL meet annually to discuss delinquent local reports and share information. Together, over the years we have built a good working relationship.

    LM Reports

    Local officers need to keep in mind that LM reports must now be signed electronically by the local president and local secretary-treasurer. Each report requires two different electronic signatures. Those locals that only have one person serving in both capacities (president and secretary-treasurer) need to have their executive board authorize a second person (usually an executive board member) to also sign the report.

    Remember, you must file your LM report within 90 days after the end of your fiscal year. Filing late is a violation that gets the attention of the DOL and may lead to a DOL audit of your local.


    The AFM purchases an umbrella bonding insurance policy covering AFM locals. Since each local is bonded in differing amounts, please contact Jonathan Ferrone at if you are unsure of the bonding amount the AFM purchased for your local.

    International Musician

    The International Musician survey is now closed. There were 4,254 respondents with many adding additional comments. Thank you to all who took the time to share their thoughts by taking the survey. We are currently analyzing the information we received. In a future issue of the IM, we will share with our readers what we learn from your answers and comments.

    The International Musician Editorial Board (IMEB) meets monthly prior to the publication of each issue in order to determine what content will appear in the magazine. Unsolicited articles that have been submitted to the IMEB editor ( are considered for publication at IMEB meetings. The IMEB has sole discretion to determine what is published and in which issue an article will appear.

    Additionally, readers of the International Musician have an opportunity to provide feedback about recent articles that have appeared in the publication. When submitting feedback, please adhere to the feedback requirements. All Feedback letters regarding articles printed in the IM must be typed, signed (with name, local, and phone number), and should be no more than 200 words in length. Feedback can be emailed to

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    AFL-CIO Convention Passes Timely Resolutions

    Once every four years, elected delegates to the AFL-CIO Convention gather to elect the AFL-CIO Officers and Executive Council. Our AFM delegation consisted of AFM President Ray Hair, Local 65-699 (Houston, TX) President Lovie Smith-Wright, and myself. Unfortunately, due to a death in her family, Lovie was unable to attend.

    AFM members from Local 2-197 (St. Louis, MO) entertained the delegates as they filed into the hall to take their seats before AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka banged his gavel bringing the convention to order. Members of the St. Louis local also played for various receptions throughout the convention.

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    Hurricane Aftermath: Please Help Your Union Brothers and Sisters:

    Now that the floodwaters of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have receded and the focus of the press has moved on to other topics, AFM members affected by the storms are beginning to put their lives back together. We all sat horrified as we watched storm surge waters inundate businesses and residential communities, collapse buildings, and float cars and trucks as the hurricanes made landfall and worked their way inland. I can’t remember a time when three category 4 or 5 hurricanes followed so closely on the heels of one another.

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Official Journal of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada