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.
March 1, 2018Alan Willaert - AFM Vice President from Canada
by Alan Willaert, AFM Vice President from Canada
The Canadian Office has several negotiations occurring simultaneously. Some of these negotiations are ongoing and others are just beginning. We have been at the table with the jingle industry for more than a year. When bargaining a successor agreement began, there seemed to be a taste from the other side for more inclusive packaging, where several platforms could be purchased up front in one-year increments. That has now changed, and the emphasis is now dubbing different iterations for web use. What was once being referred to as “new media” is now simply “digital.”
When the current agreement was written, Internet advertising was in its infancy, and the revenue was small in comparison with television and radio. Now, of course, the Internet has become a mainstay and is treated as a third and equal platform.
These rather massive shifts in how advertising agencies spend their dollars have made it imperative that we completely revise the language and find ways to simplify pricing. While there are several obstacles to be overcome, there is light at the end of the tunnel and finalization of a new Commercial Announcements Agreement is imminent.
After many years, we have finally been successful in getting the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) to agree to negotiate. This will be the first independent production agreement for use in Canada, an important step because our General Production Agreement (currently negotiated with the CBC) is not a particularly good fit for independents. Once in place, it will represent more covered work for our members, and we should be able to capture productions that are now either done dark or offshore.
The first meeting took place January 31. Representing the Federation were AFM President Ray Hair, Michael Murray of Local 149 (Toronto, ON), EMSD Supervisor Dan Calabrese, Executive Director Liana White, and myself. The next bargaining date will be March 12.
The same team will be in place for negotiations set to kick off March 13, as we begin bargaining with the remaining three terrestrial broadcasters: Corus Entertainment, Rogers Communications, and Bell Media. The hope is that the current General Production Agreement (GPA) can be used as a template. Right now, certain music programming is being done under a letter of adherence to the GPA, such as CTV’s The Launch (look for the CFM logo in the credits), the Junos, and other award shows. This will allow us to capture all productions with live musicians, as well as scoring.
With the assistance of Local 293 (Hamilton, ON) President Larry Feudo and Secretary-Treasurer Brent Malseed, we have entered into negotiations for a successor contract with the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA), in anticipation of this year’s awards, hosted by the city of Hamilton. CCMA has agreed to a three-year deal to avoid repetitive bargaining.
The spring and summer will be extremely busy finalizing agreements, but the payoff will be more covered work for more members, which after all, is the point.