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


Home » Officer Columns » What You Can Expect

What You Can Expect


by Jay Blumenthal, AFM International Secretary-Treasurer

jay blumenthalIt is an honor and privilege to have been elected to serve as your AFM International Secretary-Treasurer.  Over the years I have come to know many of you through my attendance at conventions, conferences, and various negotiations. In my new role as secretary-treasurer, I look forward to developing new relationships with those of you I do not know and building on my relationships with those of you I do know.

As director of the Symphonic Services Division, I have worked closely with AFM President Ray Hair and the members of the International Executive Board. Having attended IEB meetings over the past five years, I’ve gained a good deal of familiarity with the way the IEB operates and the kinds of issues that come before it. This will allow me to “hit the ground running” at the upcoming IEB meeting in September.

As many of you know, the position of Secretary-Treasurer is a hands-on, nuts and bolts job. Put another way, it’s the lubrication that keeps all the various parts of the Federation working smoothly. This takes attention to detail, a physical presence in the office, and a dedicated AFM staff. And I can share with you from my firsthand knowledge, we could not ask for a better staff.  They love this union!  Many have worked at the AFM for years.  Twenty, 30, and even 40 years of service is not uncommon.

In fact, it was not long ago that one of our staff members retired after more than 56 years of service to the AFM.  This longevity is a testament to our dedicated, experienced staff and creates value-added for the membership because each staff member performs their duties well and works with great efficiency.

So what can you expect from your new secretary-treasurer and what are some of my goals for the AFM?

When you call me, I will make every effort to be responsive to your question(s) in a timely fashion. Even though I have the benefit of 18 years of union experience (working as a Local 802 officer, executive board member, and Federation employee), I may not have an immediate answer for you. But if I don’t, I know where to find out and I’ll get back to you quickly.

When local officers have questions for the secretary-treasurer, often the answers they receive can have significant ramifications for their locals and the answer to a member’s question may well impact that member’s career. I take all these questions seriously.

AFM Finances

I have always been cognizant of the fact that every dollar we receive at the Federation is attributable in some way to the work performed by our members. Each dollar is important and needs to be spent in a way that improves the lives and protects the livelihoods of our members. Much has been accomplished during the last six years to improve the Federation’s financial condition. But expenses can get out of hand quickly, unless one maintains a constant vigilance. Allowing the Federation to slide back into tenuous financial territory will not be an option.

Continuing to “cash up” the Relocation Fund is a high priority. Growing this fund will eventually allow us to move forward with the purchase of office space rather than continued renting. We will carefully search for the right opportunity to own our office space.

So I look forward to working together with AFM President Hair, the IEB, local officers, and the entire membership in our effort to build an even stronger, unified, and more powerful Federation. 

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