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.
November 1, 2017Jay Blumenthal - Secretary-Treasurer
Now that the floodwaters of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have receded and the focus of the press has moved on to other topics, AFM members affected by the storms are beginning to put their lives back together. We all sat horrified as we watched storm surge waters inundate businesses and residential communities, collapse buildings, and float cars and trucks as the hurricanes made landfall and worked their way inland. I can’t remember a time when three category 4 or 5 hurricanes followed so closely on the heels of one another.
Some musicians have lost homes, work, instruments, and their sense of security. But the AFM is here to help. An AFM Hurricane Relief PayPal page was created to accept donations for AFM members. One can donate with a debit card, credit card, or PayPal account. These donations go into a separate bank account for distribution to AFM members in good standing who were adversely affected by the hurricanes. It is gratifying to see the generosity of our membership and the empathy they have shown for their fellow musicians impacted by the storms. Thanks to all who have donated. It will take a long time to fully recover from such devastation, so please keep the donations coming at www.afm.org/hurricane-disaster-assistance/.
If you have been affected by Hurricane Harvey, Irma or Maria, please download the AFM Hurricane Relief Fund application from the above website and follow the instructions. Completed applications and supporting documentation should be submitted to your local for initial review. The local will forward to the Federation those applications and accompanying documentation that the local supports for assistance. The Federation will review the applications received from locals and make a final determination on assistance. The Federation retains sole discretion in determining which applicants will receive assistance.
There is other help available for musicians as well. Please contact The Actors Fund for information on emergency financial assistance and other resources. Texas residents can contact The Actors Fund’s Los Angeles office (323) 933-9244 x455 or email@example.com. Louisiana and Florida residents can contact the Actors Fund New York City office (212) 221-7300 x119 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a union member who participates in certain Union Plus programs and have been affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, or Maria, you may be eligible for financial assistance through the Union Plus Disaster Relief program. The Union Plus Disaster Relief Fund has provided nearly $1 million in assistance to union members facing hardships. Go to www.unionplus.org/hardship-help/disaster-relief-grants to learn more about the benefits and eligibility requirements.
I recently reached out to the vice president of Local 555 (Puerto Rico) not knowing whether my voice mail message would get through to him. That evening he called to let me know that he and his family were safe, but just about everyone he had spoken to had water in their homes. Electricity had not been restored, so they had no power for lights, refrigeration, or Internet service. He said he was able to charge his phone in his car. This was a problem because getting gasoline meant a two to 10-hour wait in line at the gas station. After two weeks, news reports said that help was finally beginning to get to the people, but remote areas are still experiencing delays in receiving aid.
Our hearts go out to all those affected by the hurricanes. We are doing all we can to be supportive during this difficult time.
The following articles show how orchestras comes together and helps those in need: