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.
May 1, 2022Jay Blumenthal - AFM International Secretary-Treasurer
The AFL-CIO Convention, which last took place in St. Louis, Missouri (2017), will be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from June 12-15, 2022. Normally, this convention is held every four years. However, the AFL-CIO Executive Council postponed the 29th AFL-CIO Constitutional Convention from October 2021 to June 2022 to protect the health and safety of delegates and hold a safe, in-person event.
The AFM will have three elected delegates attend the AFL-CIO Convention (AFM President Ray Hair, AFM Southern Conference Secretary Lovie Wright-Smith, and myself). AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler will preside over the convention. Previously, Shuler served as AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer; however, upon the passing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, she stepped up as interim president and was then elected August 5, 2021. Shuler has truly broken through many glass ceilings in her career, having been the youngest and first woman ever to hold the position of AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer and then the first woman to hold the position of AFL-CIO president.
I have had the privilege of getting to know her over many years. Shuler has proven to be an intelligent, articulate, and energetic labor leader who is as at ease in the boardroom as she is in the trenches supporting the AFL-CIO’s 57 affiliate unions and their 12.5 million rank-and-file members. I look forward to attending this year’s convention and will report the outcome to you upon its conclusion.
I am pleased to report that the Federation’s Labor-Management report was uploaded successfully to the Department of Labor’s website on time. If your local’s fiscal year coincides with the calendar year, your 2021 LM report was due March 31.
The Federation’s audit for 2021 is in the final stages of completion. As soon as it is wrapped up, we will report the audit results in the 2021 AFM Annual Report. When completed, the Annual Report file will be sent to all local officers by email. The Annual Report will also be available to all AFM members on the AFM website for review or download.
If you need financial assistance, particularly during this time of COVID, one resource that might be able to help is the Musicians Foundation. See my column in the August 2018 International Musician for details. (You can access IM archives on the AFM website. Log in and choose the International Musician tab, select 2018 from the dropdown menu, click the August issue, and go to page 5.) There, you will find information about the Musicians Foundation, including qualifications for support. The Musicians Foundation website is www.musiciansfoundation.org.
Lastly, a heartfelt thanks to those musicians who perform in nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the US and Canada. Bringing the joy of music to our seniors uplifts their spirits and brightens their days in ways that cannot be duplicated. While the work may not be as glamorous as some of the other engagements you perform, it is so meaningful and much appreciated by your audiences. Thank you ever so much for making it a part of the work you do. Thanks to the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) for sponsoring these engagements. Those interested in performing for care facility audiences should contact the MPTF for more information (www.musicpf.org).