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.
July 2, 2018Jay Blumenthal - Secretary-Treasurer
During the last hurricane season, many will remember the three devastating storms that hit Texas (Harvey), Florida (Irma), and Puerto Rico (Maria). Pictures on the news showed the flooding and destructive wind damage that left many residents reeling from these storms. Homes, automobiles, and personal possessions were heavily damaged, not to mention musical instruments that were destroyed. Venue closings resulted in lost work for musicians. These hurricanes killed hundreds of people and caused more than $200 billion in damage.
Many AFM members wanted to donate money to help other AFM members adversely affected by these hurricanes. To facilitate donations, the AFM set up a Hurricane Relief Fund page so assistance could be distributed. Many generous donations were received, resulting in more than $40,000 to assist members. We received several applications from Texas and Florida, but very few relief fund applications from Puerto Rico. I know that many of our Puerto Rico members are still getting back on their feet, so we expect there are application submissions yet to come. If you were adversely affected by the hurricanes, had significant uninsured, uncompensated losses, were and are currently an AFM member in good standing, and have not applied for assistance, I urge you to do so.
However, hurricanes were not the only catastrophes that caused heavy losses for musicians. You may well remember the terrible California wildfires that swept through the San Francisco area and the hills surrounding Los Angeles. We received a request to help these AFM members as well. Since the Hurricane Relief Fund donations were given specifically for hurricane relief, the AFM International Executive Board (IEB) felt it needed to distribute hurricane funds for hurricane relief only.
However, the IEB decided at their meeting last March to create a generic AFM Emergency Relief Fund (AFM-ERF) so that assistance could be made available (at the discretion of the IEB) for other types of catastrophic events, such as the California wildfires. The IEB approved the allotment of $10,000 from the AFM General Fund as seed money to set up the AFM-ERF with the stipulation that, once the AFM-ERF is well-funded from donations, the IEB could return the AFM-ERF seed money back to the AFM General Fund.
We are in the process of establishing the AFM-ERF and creating an application form for catastrophic events. The involvement of locals will be part of the vetting process for members to receive assistance from the AFM-ERF, in the same way locals are involved with Hurricane Relief Fund assistance. When we have the AFM-ERF up and running, an e-mail blast announcing the new fund will go out to local officers and AFM members.
The 2017 AFM Annual Report is available for viewing and downloading on the AFM website. After login using your AFM ID and password, go to the Document Library. Then click on the Financial Documents and Annual Report folder to find the 2017 AFM Annual Report, along with other financial documents. After downloading it from the website, you may read it or print it on your printer.