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.

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Officer Columns, President's Message

The American Rescue Plan: In Unity There is Strength

As I write this column (March 12, 2021) the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, with its relief provisions for multiemployer pension plans, has passed the Senate, was approved by the House of Representatives, and was signed into law by President Biden. If there were ever a day to celebrate the power of collective action and […]


Changes for International Musician and at the Federal Office of Labor-Management Standards

Beginning with next month’s May 2021 issue of the AFM official journal International Musician, the production will change from Bentley-Hall, Inc. to Method Marketing, Inc. I want to thank Bentley-Hall for the many years of dedicated service and devotion to the production and design of our award-winning magazine. To be crystal clear, we are leaving […]


Pharmacare, Tommy Douglas, and the Price of Tea in China

en français The longer the pandemic goes on, the more exposed the weaknesses in the social structure become. Those with precarious work (e.g. gigging musicians) have struggled for mere survival. When the “Great Reset” happens, certainly there are a plethora of improvements to be made. One of the major objectives of the Canadian Labour Congress […]


‘Right to Work’ Really Means ‘Right to Work for Less’

The post-WWII legislation known as “Right to Work,” which is still on the books in 28 states, is one of the great misnomers of all time. It sounds kind of noble, but what it really means is “Right to Work for Less.” In other words, you have the right to work for as little as […]


The AFM-EP Fund, Benefit Reductions, and Legislative Relief

Participants in the American Federation of Musicians and Employers’ Pension Fund were notified in January that the Fund filed a second application with the US Treasury Department to reduce benefits under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (MPRA). This month, I’ll explain the decision by the Fund trustees to file another MPRA application, the difference in […]


A Year in the Life of a Pandemic

We are approaching the one-year mark since the onset of the COVID pandemic, which resulted in authorities declaring a public health emergency and a lockdown requiring the closure of our AFM New York City office from March 19 through June 24, 2020. The AFM Los Angeles and Washington, DC offices were closed similarly. These closings […]


Low Friends in High Places—How Union Solidarity and Lobbying Helped Get Political Support for Canadian Musicians

When the pandemic effectively demolished live music in mid-March of last year, the AFM Canadian Office immediately dispatched letters to whomever in government was in a position to be of assistance, as identified with the aid of our knowledgeable lobbyist, Isabel Metcalfe. While I’m sure our plea to recognize the severity of the situation did […]


Freelance Musicians Need Economic Relief

Freelance musicians working in live entertainment venues have been among the hardest hit by the effects of the pandemic. Although the nature of this work has always been precarious, the pandemic has exposed structural problems that have long existed and that leave freelancers exceedingly vulnerable—the recent difficulties in accessing unemployment benefits is only the latest […]


January 6: Violence Has No Role in Our Democracy

On January 7, I issued the following statement in the aftermath of the mob attack on our capitol: “The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada condemns in the strongest terms the mob assault upon the US Capitol building, which was an attempt to subjugate our democracy and the peaceful and constitutional transfer […]


We Watched as Washington Shook

As you read my column this month, much will be different in Washington, DC. Our new president and vice president will have taken office, but only after an eventful and tumultuous final two weeks of the previous administration. We all watched incredulously as a large group of malcontents descended on the nation’s Capitol, scaling outside […]








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