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.
December 1, 2020Alfonso Pollard -
Since the 2008 US presidential election, the word “Hope” has loomed large in Americans’ political psyche. Each election since then has seen the electorate’s political arc bend toward an almost disparate political direction, hoping for a resolution to a number of crushing national crises.
In 2008, it was the hope that a man named Obama could bring the nation out of one of the most dire economic crises it faced in quite a while, helping to mend a static racial divide. In 2012, it was the hope that Obama could continue his work on healthcare, while glaring economic disparities between men and women in the workplace still loomed large. In 2016, it was the hope for recognition by those who believed that the political left had overlooked the economic plight of rural America and cast those citizens into the dustbin of economic despair. And in 2020, it was a head-on collision between an almost equally divided electorate with one segment hoping for a continuation of strength through global isolationism and the other side hoping that America would again engage/rejoin the world as a global leader in COVID relief, a leader with political moderation, in healthcare advances, economic balance, and immigration reform.
It was former Vice President Joe Biden’s focus on these issues and President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” rallying call that drove the 2020 race to the White House and eventually led to Biden’s 273-vote electoral college win. Surely, Republicans will continue to mount court challenges, many of which (as of this writing) have been rejected. However, it is Trump’s right to legally challenge the results wherever state law allows, his barriers to a smooth transition of power notwithstanding.
Over the past four years, AFM President Ray Hair and Secretary-Treasurer Jay Blumenthal have made numerous excursions to Capitol Hill here in Washington to lobby with me on critical issues. For AFM members, President Hair and members of the AFM International Executive Board chose a leadership path prior to the election that would propel this union and the labor movement closer to the reality of a less divided government and more toward a positive resolution of legislative policies that directly impact our livelihoods as professional musicians. That includes passage of the House HEROES Act, which contains pension relief, the Save Our Stages Act (supporting grant money to independent venues negatively impacted by COVID-19), additional funding for the National Endowments for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (which broadcasts, almost daily, public programming in which house musicians operate under an AFM collective bargaining agreement), additional unemployment insurance payments, rent relief, and a host of other policy perks that help musicians get back on their feet.
All of this is useless without an American president who will commit to sign this and other important labor-oriented legislation into law. President-elect Joseph R. Biden, along with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have already committed to doing this.
With the hope that electors will remain true to their state’s results (no faithless electors), with the hope of no legislative surprises in the 2020 lame-duck session, with the hope of a smooth government transition after all the votes are counted and certified, America’s new portal to refreshed national policy, renewed global respect and reintegration, science-based pandemic relief, and global economic recovery hinges on our hope and support for our centuries-old democracy and on our unyielding support for our tried and true republic.