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.
October 1, 2014Alfonso Pollard -
Our work on this issue continues. Working with the League of American Orchestras (the League), the National Association of Violin and Bow Makers, the National Association of Music Merchants, and others, our group continues to meet with top Obama Administration officials, members of Congress, and their staff to shape new policies while fighting against the negative impact the federal regulatory process has had on our industry. These nuanced visits also allowed us to provide suggestions and solutions at the agency level to chart a path toward a resolution.
Since submitting President Hair’s testimony to the House Natural Resources Committee, our group has met directly with the chair, and select members of the White House Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking. The meeting, hosted by the League, centered on strategies to move Department of Interior leadership forward to resolve the issue of the insufficient number of ports of exit and entry. Talks have also centered on enforcement by US Border Patrol, US Customs, Agriculture Enforcement, and Homeland Security activities.
Recent meetings were also held with Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Administrator Kevin Shea on the possible expansion of designated ports for departure and re-entry into the US by musicians with instruments containing USDA designated plant materials.
Unwinding the federal bureaucratic maze that impacts cross border travel by musicians is complicated, to say the least. The subsequent regulations following President Obama’s ban on African elephant ivory impacted many federal agencies and departments that have had to coordinate navigation by musicians through the quagmire of travel permits, CITES regulations, APHIS and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) requirements, Homeland Security-Customs, and Border Patrol coordination. I give credit to the advocacy team that works together daily on this issue. Methodical visits around Washington, DC, have allowed us to make changes, while having a positive impact on just about every facet of the ivory dilemma.
The AFM Office of Government Relations, along with AFM Symphonic Services Division (SSD) Director Jay Blumenthal, SSD Coordinator Laurence Hofmann, and the AFM Touring, Theatre, and Booking Division, are developing a one-stop informational webpage covering current travel requirements for musicians.