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Home » Organizing » Everyone’s Voice Counts: Is Your Local Represented?

Everyone’s Voice Counts: Is Your Local Represented?


joe-parenteby Joe Parente, AFM IEB Member and President of Local 77 (Philadelphia, PA)

In two months, the AFM will hold its 100th Convention in Las Vegas. Aside from being a historic event for the Federation, the convention will once again afford the opportunity for delegates to help shape the future of our union.

Since the last convention in 2013, the Federation has successfully negotiated most of its media agreements; collected money for musicians due them for violations under the Motion Picture Agreements; continued the fight for expedited visas, the ARTS Act, and for musicians traveling to this country; and supported the creation of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, which would require AM/FM radio to pay performance rights royalties. However, none of this would be possible without what is probably the most important factor—the Federation’s ability to maintain its financial stability.

Any success the Federation has had over the last three years have not merely been the result of the Federation itself. The AFM relies on each member of the union, through its locals, and in turn, through its delegates at the convention, to make decisions on resolutions, recommendations, and bylaw changes that will affect all members of the AFM.  These decisions establish the policies for the Federation going forward.

However, the reality is that we have had an increase in merged locals. And when we merge locals, we lose members. Not once in a while … not every so often … every time. Loss of members means less per capita for the Federation and fewer locals and delegates attending the convention, resulting in some members not being represented.

The number of locals attending conventions over the last 10 years has been steadily declining. Fewer locals, equal fewer delegates, and again, more members not being represented. I know some locals are experiencing financial hardships. I also know that all locals should be involved in the process of shaping the Federation in the future. Those two statements seem to pose a problem to which no one has an answer—at least not yet.

Everyone’s opinions count. Everyone’s ideas count. Everyone’s voice counts. We must find a solution so everyone counts!

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