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


Symphonic Services Division

Only Parties to a CBA Can Make Amendments — Let’s Keep Doing What Works

by Bernard LeBlanc, AFM Symphonic Services, Canada, Directorand Richard Sandals, AFM Symphonic Services, Canada, Associate Director In the AFM Symphonic Services Division (SSD), we get a lot of questions—often from management, but sometimes from a member, a local, or an orchestra committee—that remind us of a question you might have heard several million times from […]

ROPA Summer Conference

by Steve Wade, ROPA President and member of Local 400 (Hartford-New Haven, CT) It’s that most wonderful time of the year: conference season for all of the AFM’s player conferences. By the time you’re reading this article, the Regional Orchestra Players Association (ROPA) will have concluded its 40th Conference, held July 25-27 at the Courtland […]

ICSOM Marks 61 Years and Counting

by Paul Austin, ICSOM President and member of Local 56 (Grand Rapids, MI) The 61st annual conference of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) will be hosted by AFM Local 8 (Milwaukee, WI), and the musicians of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO). The conference will be held from Wednesday, August 23, through […]

Ain’t No Stoppin’ the Hot Labor Summer

by Adam DeSorgo, AFM Symphonic Services Division Negotiator Chicago has historically been a stronghold for labor. From the Haymarket Affair in 1886 that crystallized the campaign for the eight-hour day, to the Chicago Teacher’s Union strike in 2012, this tradition continues to the present day. Labor has one of its own as the mayor of […]

Don’t Buy into the Scarcity Narrative 

In late January, the Sphinx Organization held its annual SphinxConnect conference in Detroit, Michigan. This year’s conference celebrated 25 years of the Sphinx Organization, which is dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. Each year since 2018, I have attended the conference with an AFM contingent that included International Conference […]

Moving Forward in a Post-Pandemic World

Over the past 28 months, I have gauged the progress of the pandemic by the kinds of questions arriving in my inbox. I will never forget the palpable panic in the very first round of questions I received from local officers, committees, and musicians back in March 2020. Questions about things like musicians’ rights to […]

Electronic Media Guarantees

Negotiating season is in full force as AFM orchestras are in the process of bargaining successor collective bargaining agreements (CBAs). At the same time, the Integrated Media Agreement (IMA) has come up for renewal. The current 2019-2022 IMA term expires on June 30, 2022. The AFM will be bargaining the successor agreement with the Employers’ […]

When Orchestra Committees Burn Out

by Adam DeSorgo, AFM Symphonic Services Division Negotiator It is wonderful to see musicians returning to the stage and audiences returning to concert halls. However, amid the good news, orchestra committees and locals are dealing with increasingly complex sets of problems: COVID-19 protocols, requests for extensions, grievances, and collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations. Some employers […]

Resilience, Renewal, and Our Future in Labor

But what has unfolded over these past two years has been far more complicated than any of us imagined and the notion of a post-COVID world has given way to one in which we learn to live, uneasily, alongside a devastating disease that has shown its ability to upend our plans again and again.

59th Annual ICSOM Conference Held as a Hybrid Event

by Laura Ross, ICSOM Secretary, Nashville Symphony Member, and Member of Local 257 (Nashville, TN) It took an additional year for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) to host the 59th annual International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) Conference held August 11-14, 2021 at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown hotel. Our hosts from PSO […]

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