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


Orchestra News, Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians

OCSM Conference to Be Held in Kitchener

by Robert Fraser, OCSM President and Member Local 247 (Victoria, BC) I write this column twice per year, in April and July. In addition to this, the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM) secretary reports on our conference in the October issue. The April column usually comes right after our delegates share mid-season reports, so […]

Canada’s Unions: Lifting Everyone Up

by Bea Bruske, President, Canadian Labour Congress The work of Canada’s labour movement in recent years has been replete with success, benefiting every worker in Canada. From investments to tackle climate change, protections for workers with paid sick days, and an expansion of the Canada Pension Plan, the ability of unions to advance our economy […]

OCSM Looks Forward to Full In-Person Conference

by Robert Fraser, OCSM President and member of Local 247 (Victoria, BC) The 48th annual Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM) Conference will be held August 14-17 at Hotel Ruby Foo’s in Montreal, Quebec. Local 406 (Montreal, PQ) has made a generous donation toward our conference. We look forward to having close to a full […]

Quebec Musicians Achieve New Union Agreement 

For the musicians of the Orchestre symphonique de Québec (OSQ), ratifying a new AFM collective bargaining agreement on January 27 was the culmination of two solid years of hard work. The new four-year agreement marks the first contract negotiated in 15 years for the orchestra with Local 406 (Montreal, PQ), la Guilde des musiciens et […]

As Canadian Orchestras Recover from Pandemic Closures, OCSM Turns Attention to Four Areas of Concern 

As I’m writing this (mid-March) I am reminded that it’s the third anniversary of the worldwide shutdown of orchestras due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In my own orchestra, the anniversary went by unremarked, and with a near sold-out concert. But I am reminded, whenever I see a mask on stage or in the audience, that […]

OCSM Conference Celebrates In-Person Gathering

by Elizabeth Andrews, OCSM Secretary, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra Member, and Member of Locals 149 (Toronto, ON) and 293 (Hamilton, ON) From Monday, August 8, until Friday, August 12, the beautiful Hotel Saskatchewan in downtown Regina was the site of the 2022 Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM) Conference, our first in-person meeting since 2019. While […]

OCSM: The Long Coda

The pandemic has made all of us reluctant to attempt to predict the future. (Remember the predictions that this would be over by fall 2020?) What will our future audiences look like? Will we ever return to prepandemic work density? Nobody wants to attempt to predict anything anymore, which will be a huge challenge to our negotiating committees, many of which are active now.

Virtual OCSM Conference Yields Insight as We Build Back Better

by Elizabeth Andrews, OCSM Secretary, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra Member, and Member of Locals 149 (Toronto, ON) and 293 (Hamilton, ON) From August 4 to 6, 2021, the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM) held its annual conference, once again meeting online due to the ongoing risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The delegates had met online in mid-June to report on […]

OCSM Conference to Be Held Online August 4-6

Find out from Robert Fraser, OCSM President, how OCSM responds to COVID-19 crisis by communicating with orchestras and compiling information.

Michelle Seto: Chamber Orchestra Musician Comes Full Circle

When Michelle Seto of Local 406 (Montreal, PQ) joined Les Violons du Roy in 1992, the unique chamber orchestra had a very short season and minimal benefits for its musician members. Seto says that through hard work and solidarity, the group has achieved international acclaim and has elevated its status to being one of the […]

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