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

Relocation, Part Two: Temporarily Postponed, but Very Much Alive

As previously reported in this column in July, Secretary-Treasurer Sam Folio and I, as fully authorized by your International Executive Board (IEB), opted to negotiate an agreement to purchase an office condo located in the financial district of lower Manhattan to serve as the AFM’s new home. In my June column, I also provided a […]

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Carry-on Talks with DOT: We Have Liftoff

By the time this column is published, the AFM and the US Department of Transportation (DOT) will have convened a second historic meeting at DOT headquarters in Washington, DC, to address the difficulties professional musicians face when traveling by air with musical instruments. Our initial meeting was convened in July by DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx […]

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Games the Employers (and Agents) Play

Even before it received rank-and-file approval late last month, the AFM’s new Video Game Agreement was already in use in Los Angeles, despite a crusade against it by an assortment of Hollywood employers and composers who were offended two years ago when the International Executive Board jettisoned a 2006 agreement because it contained inferior wages […]

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AFM Testimony on African Ivory Ban

As you may know, the actions of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in implementing a ban on the commercial trade in African elephant ivory have imposed severe restrictions on our members who regularly perform internationally with instruments that lawfully contain small amounts of elephant ivory. A USFWS order originally issued February 25, […]

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Relocation: A Decades-Old Work in Progress, Part 1

As you know, the 99th Convention adopted a financial package that will raise $1.2 million in additional revenue annually for the Federation, from 2014 onward. The delegates debated and eventually affirmed the financial measures through a simple voice vote—bypassing the time-consuming roll-call vote process that has historically accompanied convention financial resolutions. This was seen as […]

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FIM: Action Speaks Louder than Words

Following is the text of the keynote speech I delivered February 25, 2014 in Oslo, Norway on the occasion of the 3rd International Orchestra Conference hosted by the International Federation of Musicians (FIM). On behalf of the entire membership of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, the largest labor union […]

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Bargaining Hard in the Jingle and Orchestral Media Industries

As previously reported in this column, the Federation recently opened two sets of industry-wide media negotiations for the purpose of concluding successor agreements for musicians working in two distinctly different sectors. On December 16, 2013, we exchanged proposals with an association of symphonic, opera, and ballet employers toward the goal of updating and improving our […]

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Dick Gabriel Retires as Head of EMSD, Bill Thomas Succeeds Him

Dick Gabriel, who served Local 47 and the Federation in various capacities for more than 35 years, most recently as director of our Electronic Media Services Division, retired on January 16, closing a career that has benefitted thousands of professional musicians.

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Negotiations in Progress:Film, Jingles, and Symphonic Media

As we close a dynamic and energetic 2013 and look ahead toward a productive new year, negotiations for constructive, successor media agreements with the film, jingle, and symphonic employment sectors will dominate my work schedule early on. That said, despite the contentious nature of labor negotiations, the bargaining table is a place I relish because […]

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Stronger Together: An Interview with President Hair

by Gail Kruvand, AFM Local 802 Executive Board The following article was reprinted from the November 2013 issue of Allegro, the magazine of AFM Local 802 (New York City). For more information, visit: For this interview, President Hair spoke with Local 802 member and bassist Gail Kruvand, who serves on the Local 802 Executive […]

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