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.
September 1, 2014Tom Mendel - Theatre Musicians Association (TMA) President and member Local 10-208 (Chicago, IL)
The 19th Annual Theatre Musicians Association (TMA) Conference was held at the Holiday Inn, Fort Worth, Texas, August 11-12. TMA Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter President and Local 72-147 (Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX) member Brian Brown, Local 72-147 Secretary-Treasurer Stewart Williams, and myself welcomed the attendees.
AFM President Ray Hair’s address to our conference began with a long talk about the history of union politics in DFW area. He spoke of his belief in service unionism, as opposed to business unionism, which is elitist and creates hierarchies. Top down unionism doesn’t work! He also highlighted the success of the recent recording negotiations.
Many topics were discussed in my TMA President’s Report. TMA chartered two new chapters in 2013: Washington, DC, and Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas. I believe this was possible, in great part, thanks to the advocacy of Local 161-710 (Washington, DC) member Ed Malaga and Local 72-147 member Debbie Brooks. TMA would like to help its members-at-large to form a nongeographic chapter. The TMA website has lots of new additions. The Theater Contract Data Repository, a collection of data formatted to compare important aspects of theater CBAs from many AFM locals, became active last spring. It is housed in a password-protected section of the TMA website as is our new TMA Officers’ Toolbox. On a sad note, I announced the June 24 passing of Rich Genovese. He was a director for membership-at-large from the time TMA formed the position until the 2012 Conference. He was a gentleman and an outstanding musician and musicians’ advocate.
TMA Vice President Walter Usiatynski, a member of Local 802 (New York City) gave a report on the recent Locals Conference Council-Players’ Conference Council (LCC-PCC) Conference in Reno, Nevada. Secretary-Treasurer Mark Pinto, a member of Local 9-535 (Boston, MA), discussed TMA finances and also emphasized the need for TMA to increase membership. All TMA chapter directors gave reports either directly or through their alternate directors.
International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) Chair Bruce Ridge, Regional Orchestra Players Association Vice President Nancy Nelson, and Recording Musicians Association-LA President Andrew Malloy eloquently presented their conference reports. I read Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM) President Robert Fraser’s report.
The TMA Executive Board passed a Bylaw Resolution #1 enabling it to “confer honorary membership upon any person for distinguished action on of the TMA or on the musical theatre profession.” It also passed a Bylaw Resolution #2 making former AFM Director for Touring/Theatre/Booking and Immigration Steve Gelfand its first honorary member. Gelfand gave his final report to TMA on Pamphlet B touring, including present and upcoming shows, via Skype. His replacement, former TMA Vice President Michael Manley, gave an overview of the AFM Touring/Theatre/Booking and Immigration Division. He looks forward to working with TMA again.
We had two outstanding guest speakers this year. Dallas attorney Yona Rosen discussed the Affordable Care Act and its effects on union musicians. J.D. Harris, a commissioner of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (FMCS), discussed the workings of the FMCS. Reports were also given by TMA Director for Broadway and Local 802 member Jan Mullen, Director for Travelers and Local 802 member Jamie Schmidt, and Chair of the Membership-at-Large Organizing Committee Walter Usiatynski.
The second day began with the Executive Board Report. TMA Webmaster Stephen Green of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) gave his report. Local 802 (New York City) President Tino Gagliardi spoke on the Metropolitan Opera negotiations. AFM Diversity Committee member Lovie Smith-Wright, a member of Local 72-147, gave the Diversity Committee Report. Standing Committee chair reports were given by Debbie Brooks (Chapter and Membership Recruitment), Walter Usiatynski (Legislative), and Local 586 (Phoenix, AZ) member Christina Steffen (Marketing and PR).
Resolution No. 3: TMA Bylaws Restructure, authored by TMA Parliamentarian Paul Castillo of Local 47 and Legislative Committee Chair Walter Usiatynski, was overseen and recommended by the Legislative Committee. It passed unanimously.
TMA elections were held and the results are as follows: President Tom Mendel, Vice President Walter Usiatynski, Secretary-Treasurer Mark Pinto, Director for Broadway Jan Mullen, Director for the Membership-at-Large Lovie Smith-Wright, and Director for Travelers Jamie Schmidt. Chapter directors, who are elected locally, include: Local 9-535 member Tony D’Amico (Boston), Local 10-208 member Dan Johnson (Chicago), Local 5 (Detroit, MI) member Alan Ayoub (Detroit), Local 369 (Las Vegas, NV) member David Philippus (Las Vegas), Local 6 (San Francisco, CA) member Steve Sanders (Northern California), Christina Steffen (Phoenix), Paul Castillo (Southern California), Local 2-197 (St. Louis, MO) member Vicky Smolik (St. Louis), and Local 161-710 member Paul Schultz (Washington, DC). AFM President Ray Hair swore in all officers, including all chapter directors and alternates that were present.
The TMA would like to thank outgoing officers Rich Tremarello of Local 8 (Milwaukee, WI), Leo Murphy of Local 10-208, and Mark Mauldin of 161-710 for their service with TMA. TMA is a voluntary organization and the time and effort given by our local and national representatives is greatly appreciated.
TMA is dedicated to ensuring live music remains a vital and valued part of theatrical musicals. Our purpose is to represent and serve the needs of all local and touring theatre musicians. See if we are a good fit for you. Visit our website: afm-tma.org, and follow us on Twitter: @TMAMusicians and don’t forget to “Like Us” on Facebook!