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.
November 10, 2014IM -
The lockout of the musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) continues, as the Woodruff Arts Center (WAC)—the umbrella organization for ASO—has canceled concerts through November 8. Musicians’ paychecks have come to a stop and their health insurance has been canceled.
At the end of September, Stanley Romanstein resigned his position as ASO president and executive director, stating that he believed his continued leadership would be an impediment to reaching a new labor agreement. Terry Neal, a retired Coca-Cola Company executive and current ASO board member, has been appointed interim president.
Still, WAC refuses to budge from its “best and final” offer presented September 5, which would reduce both musician salaries and the size of the orchestra, and would give ultimate control over the orchestra complement to administration. Two meetings have been held with Allison Beck, the federal mediator who helped reach a deal in the Met negotiations. WAC has since canceled meetings and has been slow to reschedule them.
ASO musicians have continued to perform concerts around Atlanta and have held daily protests outside WAC. A petition urging WAC and ASO management to end the lockout is available at: www.change.org/p/woodruff-arts-center-board-end-the-aso-musicians-lockout.
On November 9th the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra musicians and management were able to negotiate a new deal six weeks after the season was supposed to have started (the season will now start this Thursday—11/13). The new deal allows musicians to receive a 6% pay raise over the next four years, and it will pay increased premiums to participate in a high-deductible health plan.
The size of the orchestra will increase from 77 musicians to 88 over the next four years.
Virginia A. Hepner, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Woodruff Arts Center said in a statement:
“We are thrilled we have been able to reach agreement with the musicians. Over the last several difficult weeks of negotiates, both sides recognized that we all share the same goals and aspirations – we all want a world class orchestra that the musicians and city are proud of and one that has long-term financial stability. We believe this new agreement is one that will allow us to achieve those goals.”
Danny Laufer, an associate principal cellist and vice president of the musicians’ negotiating team, said:
“We are grateful and humbled by the incredible outpouring of support displayed for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra from our community, as well as across the country and around the world.”
The first concert will feature Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”