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


Home » Organizing » A New Day for Union Organizing

A New Day for Union Organizing


by Gabe Kristal, AFM Director of Organizing

It is no secret that organized labor has been in decline for several decades from its high point in 1954, when more than one in three US workers belonged to a union. However, there is new momentum for our labor movement. Buoyed by the Biden Administration and the most worker-friendly National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in decades, labor is on the march.

Successful organizing drives of Volkswagen and Amazon and successful contract fights of Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), Writers Guild of America (WGA), and AFM are heralding a generational opportunity that we must take advantage of.

The AFM Organizing Division is taking major steps to make the most of this moment. We have hired two full-time international organizers and are in the process of hiring a strategic researcher. With this full complement of organizing staff, we will be able to identify strategic organizing targets and rapidly respond to calls from musicians looking for help.

We will be able to defend against such industrywide threats as artificial intelligence and off-shoring. Locals will be able to apply for help with their organizing campaigns, as well as commit to regional, national, and international efforts that benefit the AFM, entertainment industry, and overall labor movement.

To make the most of these enhanced resources, we have developed a growth strategy that focuses on four major areas:

• Symphonic Density: In addition to targets already identified by AFM Symphonic Services Division, we are doing research and pulling Form 990s (returns of organizations exempt from income tax) of all members of the League of American Orchestras to identify those that have a large enough budget to be organized and we will systematically start campaigns.

• Electronic Media Expansion: Targeting companies to become signatories and fighting to get all awards shows and live TV covered.

• Theatrical Expansion: We are looking to work with theater musicians and other unions to increase our presence while also looking to cover more touring shows.

• Gigging Musicians/Freelancers: Finding targeted campaigns to make real improvements that have a broad impact for gigging musicians.

The AFM Organizing Division will hold monthly organizing calls with locals, during which we will prioritize campaigns within this framework. Additionally, we have begun providing training and informational resources that locals can access.

It is through the utilization of an international organizing program that we expect to have one of the fastest growing trade unions. I urge you to join us in making a brighter future for musicians and all working people.

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