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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Home » Officer Columns » East Coast Meets West Coast


East Coast Meets West Coast

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by Maria Warner-Dowrich, AFM EMSD East Coast Office Contract Adminstrator

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” —Helen Keller

Being a newcomer to the AFM Electronic Media Services Division (EMSD), and a part of the everyday ins and outs of that environment, has given me a new and intense perspective on what many musicians face as working professionals, not only from a musical aspect, but on what it takes to keep all corners working, connected together, in unison. The EMSD West Coast and the East Coast offices aspire daily to diligently connect all the dots and cross all the Ts, assuring that musicians reap the rightful fruit of their labor.

The routine of the division is anything but routine. On any given day, the influx of agreements contracts, session forms, and telephone calls is nothing short of amazing, and can become overwhelming at times. Fortunately, there’s always a helping hand and a listening ear to put things in perspective.

I am constantly in awe of the knowledge that EMSD Assistant Director Pat Varriale exudes. His many years with the Federation have given him a deliberate focus on the tasks at hand. Varriale is a person of great integrity and a mentor. He has taken me under his wing to help me understand the department’s functions. His advice is priceless and will always be a treasured part of my life beyond the AFM.

In collaboration with EMSD’s West Coast Office, we function under the directorship of EMSD Director William F. Thomas. As a vehicle of connection, our offices meet once a week, via video chat, to keep abreast of the goings on within each individual’s area of specialty. 

Administrative Assistant Kim Wysocki, my co-worker and go-to person, is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to backtracking the historical aspects of the EMSD. I have garnered useful and informative data to assist me with the job at hand and the work ahead. 

The East Coast Office meets the West Coast Office hand-in-hand, as a team, getting through the difficult situations and answering some of the, at times, ambiguous questions set before us. Together, we strive to reinforce the efficiency that makes the EMSD work for all.

Communication, teamwork, and dedication are the true catalysts that bind West Coast with East Coast offices. Our diversities and commonalities are brought together for one common purpose: to serve the needs and right the wrongs dealt to the musicians in concert with the AFM as a whole.

In the words of the incomparable Phil Jackson, basketball guru: “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.







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