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.
August 31, 2020IM -
AFM applauded the introduction of legislation in late July that would fix issues that musicians and other entertainment workers have had with unemployment benefits. The Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act, introduced by U.S. Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Judy Chu (D-CA), would help ensure that workers who earn a mix of traditional (W-2) and independent (e.g. 1099) income are able to fully access the unemployment assistance provided in the CARES Act.
“Most musicians are facing unprecedented job loss with no end in sight. It is vital that musicians and others who have both W-2 and 1099 income are able to receive full unemployment benefits,” said AFM International President Ray Hair. “We thank representatives Schiff and Chu for listening to musicians and introducing this critical legislation.”
The CARES Act created the Pandemic Unemployment Insurance (PUA) program to provide unemployment benefits to freelancers, contractors, and other gig workers who would not normally qualify for traditional unemployment benefits. Under existing rules, musicians and other entertainment workers who earn a combination of traditional (W-2) and self-employment (e.g. 1099) income are automatically excluded from the PUA program. This means that workers who earn exclusively W-2 or exclusively 1099 income receive benefits based on their total earnings, but mixed earners only receive benefits based on their W-2 employment. This caused many entertainment workers to have their income significantly under-measured and resulted in disproportionately low benefits.
The Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act will allow people who earn a combination of traditional (W-2) and independent (e.g. 1099) income to opt into receiving PUA benefits in lieu of regular state unemployment compensation. Because PUA benefits are calculated using states’ existing formulas, but use a worker’s full earnings record, they are guaranteed to be at least as much as regular state benefits and will take into account mixed earner’s true earnings history from both traditional and self-employment.
In May, the AFM sent a letter with other entertainment unions and music industry organizations to highlight the ways that the CARES Act had fallen short in assisting musicians and other entertainment workers.