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.
February 13, 2017IM -
by John Acosta, AFM International Executive Board Member and President of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA)
With many voters, pundits, and pollsters still recovering from the unexpected results of our last presidential election, I find that it is critical for us to focus on what this means for our union and how it may impact our members. There is no doubt in my mind that the focus by the trump administration to gut the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare) will leave many musicians exposed to the whims of an avaricious health care industry and without the safety net provided by the ACA.
While the ACA was far from perfect, it did expand health care coverage for millions of Americans who would not otherwise be covered. In California, we are not taking the attacks on the ACA lightly. AFM locals in California are working with labor and community coalitions to not only protect our health care—but to go one step further—by expanding health care into a single-payer model or universal health care, much like we find in most of the first world.
With a new administration in Washington, DC, we can also expect attacks on labor itself with a less friendly, if not overtly hostile, National Labor Relations Board and legislation that seeks to gut a union’s ability to collect dues by enacting a national “right to work” law.
Now, you may ask, how does this affect me? Well, if you’re in a symphony, you may see more aggressive acts by management to violate your CBA. If members of your symphony orchestra are no longer required to pay their dues, you will have a less effective union with a weakened ability to represent you at the bargaining table or in grievance and arbitration proceedings. Recording musicians may see employers reinterpreting the agreements under which you work and dispensing with age-old practices that were unwritten but accepted industry wide.
Now don’t get me wrong, we should approach the new administration in Washington, DC, to find common ground. President Trump has stated that he wants to help American workers keep their jobs in the US. This is a concept we can get behind. We have already begun discussions about how we can best support this initiative as it relates to runaway scoring and recording.
The idea of placing tariffs on intellectual property produced outside of the US, making it less desirable for companies to outsource musician jobs, is something we hope to urge the administration to incorporate into Trump’s job creation program. Whether we will be received positively by the Trump Administration is still an open question, and whether there is enough common ground to make the next four years productive is yet to be seen.
As our former President Obama stated in the waning days of his presidency, “The best days are still ahead.” I believe this. We must continue to organize internally and externally, while we remain vigilant in the fight for better wages, working conditions, and dignity on the job.