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.
October 1, 2023Alfonso Pollard -
Presidential and congressional elections will be held Tuesday, November 5, 2024. The first Republican Presidential caucus takes place January 15, 2024 in Iowa. Now is the time to prepare.
In the September International Musician, I outlined the monumental legislative successes you achieved over the past 10 years. Each of these wins created added value to your lives, careers, and membership, while they underscored how your involvement in federal and state politics is an essential part of your union membership.
By working closely with our AFM International President and the union’s National Legislative Office, your successes helped make the case that the AFM’s involvement in government relations is essential to your career and to a prosperous family life. Almost since the inception of the AFM in 1896, the union has been on a steady course of making political gains for you as its members as well as tens of millions of Americans. Nonmembers have also benefited from sweeping legislative changes in US laws and regulations that you and your predecessors fought for throughout the 126-year history of the AFM.
Key to our success is one fundamental American right that costs nothing but has helped guarantee our very survival. It is your obligation to vote. You can help by electing arts and entertainment friendly legislators who work in concert with us to keep the arts alive in this country.
The upcoming 2024 Presidential election cycle is no different. The voting process is essentially the same for both midterm and presidential election cycles.
Promoting the Federal Arts Voting Block
To help underscore this point, bipartisan groups in the House and Senate stand as guardians of our industry:
•House Arts Caucus: approximately 150 members (about one-third of House membership)
•Senate Arts Caucus: 40 members
•Congressional Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM)Caucus: approximately 80 members
•Congressional Entertainment Industries Caucus: 98 members
•Creative Rights Caucus: approximately 43 members
Prepping Takes Time and Planning
Our Democratic system of government under the Constitution provides for an orderly and peaceful transition of government once the will of the American people is determined by the outcome of free elections. Your vote is not only a right but, as a citizen, it’s an obligation.
Accurate information (election dates and polling locations) and timely voter registration are your ticket to guarantee that your voice is heard.
Protect Your Vote
During highly contested election cycles, voter suppression problems may arise. Prior to Election Day, nefarious activities like deceptive neighborhood signage and telephone calls may be employed to throw entire neighborhoods into chaos through inaccurate dates and polling locations.
Be advised, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibits voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race, color, or membership in one of the language minority groups identified in Section 4(f)(2) of the Act.
Likewise, Election Day intimidation, sometimes by groups of uniformed rabble-rousers and disrupters stationed at election polling centers, can chase voters away or discourage them from entering polling center lines. Voter intimidation is a federal crime, and if caught in the act, perpetrators can be arrested. If you feel that your polling center may fall under siege, bring a trusted, mature partner, along with your cellphone, to document any intimidation. You should report any problems to polling officials or to the local police.
Both Presidential and Midterm voting processes are governed by the states and regulated by the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). You may register to vote through the Vote.gov website or visit www.fec.gov to identify primary and general election dates by state. If you don’t receive written notification of polling times and locations in your jurisdiction, contact your county election board for this information.