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 » It’s 2021, and the Buzz is About Building Back Better


It’s 2021, and the Buzz is About Building Back Better

  -  International Executive Board Member and President of Local 105 (Spokane, WA)

Each one of us experienced this past year differently, a totally unique experience. For me, time sped by so fast that it felt like a month passed with every blink of the eye. I haven’t really had time to process it all yet. Glimpses of the shutdown, gathering, sifting, disbursing information as quickly as possible, what’s important, what’s interesting. Who can help, what’s a waste of time, how to tell the difference. Frenzy.

Seasons didn’t exist. No end of the symphony season, no summer concerts series, no season kick-offs. After the end of February, for the rest of the year there was nothing to differentiate time, just looking at the daily to-do list, Zoom meetings, Teams meetings, Web-Ex meetings, and plowing ahead. I didn’t even try to read a book until November 8. Catharsis.

It’s now 2021 and the buzz is “Build Back Better!” From the struggle to get unemployment for musicians and hearing from so many sources that maintaining sanity came from listening to music, watching tv and movies, reading books, the arts provided the semblance of humanity we have all been craving during this time of physical separation.

When it’s safe to gather again, live music will perform a central role in rebuilding our society as we rediscover what we have in common, redevelop shared values through shared experiences. It is important that we don’t lose that understanding of value and that we take it to the next steps of valuing our work. Solidarity.

Day to day, our situation is fluid and it’s hard to make predictions, but if the stars align properly, we could be in a good position to effect the much-needed changes that were identified well before this pandemic. So, before society rebuilds without us and makes the new normal look like the old normal, we need to prepare to ensure the rebuilding process is inclusive of our workforce. Let’s take this time to rebuild our solidarity through our local unions. Create a vision, develop a plan, commit to participate, and resolve that our collective future will be better than before. Every one of us has a part to play. Organize.

Living in Washington state, I have been privileged to have a governor who has taken this pandemic very seriously. Living in Eastern Washington (pretty well shut down), bordering Idaho, which took a vastly different approach (mostly wide open), has given me a pretty clear picture of the tensions between urban and rural lifestyles.

I’ve been serving on a committee with representatives of businesses, including hotels and restaurants, since last May, hearing the stories of people desperately trying to save their businesses and provide for their employees. I also have daily conversations with workers, from musicians and stagehands who want desperately to go back to work to essential workers who are grateful to have an income but desperately want to stay home. We have a lot of bridges to rebuild, and I’m not talking about bricks and mortar. We know that music has the power to bring people together and our work will be essential when we can get back together safely again. Perspectives.

Please take care in your daily lives. Don’t take unnecessary risks. Each one of you as music makers are precious and necessary to the future well-being of our communities. Hugs!







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