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


Ray Hair

AFM International President

Building Unity – It’s About What We Can Do Together

I’ll begin my final column (#156 of 156) by congratulating President-elect Tino Gagliardi, Secretary-Treasurer-elect Ken Shirk and the incoming executive committee on their election as your new AFM International Executive Board at the 102nd AFM Convention in Las Vegas. You inspired them to make the decision to run, and they did so because they believe […]

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In Unity, There Is Strength

Last month, I announced that I would not be a candidate for International President during the election of officers at the 102nd AFM Convention, scheduled for June 26-29 in Las Vegas. After more than 40 years of service—28 years as president of Local 72-147 (Dallas-Ft. Worth) and 13 years as your international president, I have […]

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Actors’ Equity, Touring Producers on Verge of a Strike

As I write this column over Easter weekend, my thoughts turn to the actors and stage managers who work and perform the Broadway touring musical productions across North America, represented by the AFL-CIO affiliated Actors’ Equity Association (Equity). For months, Equity has been negotiating with producers, represented by the Broadway League and Disney Theatrical, for […]

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Post-pandemic, Unionism Is More Important Than Any Other Time in Our Lives 

It has been a treacherous road weathering the storm of the health crisis. People want to know if and when the pandemic will be over. Some think the pandemic is over when everyone acts like it’s over—no more masking or social restrictions—like we were doing before this all started.   If that’s true, people tired of […]

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Pension Fund Update: Financial Assistance Application Set for March Filing

As you may recall, after an all-out lobbying effort by the Federation, our player conferences, rank-and-file AFM members, AFM and Employers’ Pension Fund (AFM-EPF) participants, and organized labor, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in early 2021. ARPA provides financial relief to multiemployer defined benefit pension plans facing financial distress. Troubled plans will […]

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Three-Year Deal Reached with Sound Recording Industry

I am pleased to report that on January 11, 2023, the Federation reached an agreement with recording industry representatives for a successor Sound Recording Labor Agreement (SRLA) for a period commencing the first Monday after ratification through January 31, 2026 (approximately three years). I am even more pleased to report that the agreement brings significant […]

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Sound Recording Discussions Resume

The Federation will meet with sound recording industry representatives this month to continue discussions toward a progressive successor Sound Recording Labor Agreement (SRLA). The existing predecessor agreement covered the period February 1, 2017, through January 31, 2020. It was extended by written agreement between the parties on the eve of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that […]

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A Restructured MPTF Resulted in Pension, Film, TV, and Sound Recording Residuals

Part 2 of 2: Last month, my column discussed how former AFM President James Petrillo’s proposals to end two strikes against US recording companies—in 1942 and in 1948—led to the establishment of the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF). This month, I will describe how MPTF became a royalty feature of other major Federation media agreements, […]

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Establishment of MPTF Led to the Formation of AFM’s Pension and Residual Funds

The Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) will celebrate its 75th Anniversary in 2023. This article explores the establishment of the MPTF, which led to the formation of the AFM’s pension and residual funds. If you receive benefit payments from the American Federation of Musicians and Employers’ Pension Fund, residual distributions from the Sound Recording Special […]

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Ground Zero, Subzero

Note: As I am preparing this column for the October edition of the International Musician—today, September 11, 2022—America and the world pause on the 21st anniversary of the vicious attacks in New York City; Washington, DC; and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Reprinted below is an article I wrote for our local newsletter as president of Local 72-147 […]

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