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.
December 1, 2014Alan Willaert - AFM Vice President from Canada
The year 2014 has been a turbulent one for the Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM).
However, to start on a positive, February saw the removal of rules about unionization votes from proposed Bill C-525. The deleted rules were completely biased against unions.
At a December 2013 general meeting of Local 406 (Montreal, PQ), a motion was passed to conduct a referendum to determine if the local should disaffiliate from the AFM. The local and the AFM struggled to find a solution for a shortfall in the local’s ability to pay its per capita dues. Balloting took place in June. The July IM announced that barely a simple majority of 46.6% of members surveyed voted against disaffiliation from the AFM. Now the local’s leadership has placed a motion before the courts to obtain a declaration that the 53% majority obtained in the consultation survey is sufficient to disaffiliate, in spite of the local bylaw requirements.
Local 145 (Vancouver, BC) members were granted a temporary injunction against disciplinary action for having entered into an agreement with Vancouver Film Orchestra in September 2012 that undercut national agreements. The local’s officers and board were removed from office and the local had been placed in trusteeship June 2013. In September of this year, British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Carol Ross handed down a decision that found the applicable AFM Bylaw unenforceable in the Province of British Columbia, thereby ending the trusteeship and returning the former board to office. The AFM has appealed the decision.
This spring Canada’s Harper government trimmed the CBC budget to the tune of $130 million, which translates into 657 lost jobs, even though the national broadcaster has a substantial positive impact on the economy. From the CFM’s perspective, proper funding of the broadcaster is essential if we want emerging Canadian musicians to find an audience.
I attended the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) Convention in May. Among the topics discussed was the fact that the latest government is, for the first time, actively attacking organized labour with bills like C-377. At the convention, Hassan Yussuff was elected CLC president.
This year negotiations on a number of Canadian agreements focused on updates to reflect new business models and digital platforms. The General Production Agreement (formerly the CBC/SRC Agreement) is all but complete. The Canadian Commercial Announcement (Jingle) and National Film Board (NFB) agreements are effective June 5, 2014 and will run through June 4, 2017. Talks are also ongoing with the Ontario Educational channels (formerly TVO/TFO) to update language and fees. The CFM plans to approach the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) to begin negotiations under the new General Production Agreement.
In November, I traveled to Budapest to be part of an International Federation of Musicians conference on music streaming. AFM President Ray Hair and I were on the programme as presenters.
The Canadian Office would like to wish all our members and their families a very Merry Christmas, and the hope that the New Year is filled with good health, happiness, and prosperity.