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.
February 5, 2020Jay Blumenthal - AFM International Secretary-Treasurer
On January 9, Ken Shirk, assistant to the AFM president, Jon Ferrone, AFM assistant secretary, and I met with the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) of the US Department of Labor (DOL) for our annual Voluntary Compliance Program (VCP) meeting. Lorenzo Harrison, OLMS director of program operations, Joy Mitchell, district director (New York District Office), and Investigator Gregg Cautero came to our AFM New York City office.
Each year, the OLMS puts together a report for the Federation covering all the AFM Local affiliates in the United States (including Puerto Rico). The report contains:
An LM Delinquency Analysis listing any remaining delinquent affiliates (locals). It also includes a list of late filing locals with their filing date and how many days the filing was late.
Bonding Analysis compares the bonding amount reported on the local’s LM report to at least 10% of the funds handled during the local’s preceding fiscal year up to a maximum of $500,000. The AFM purchases a labor organization blanket bond covering AFM locals. Please call Assistant Secretary Jon Ferrone to find out the amount of the bond the AFM has purchased for your local. You need this figure when filling out your LM report.
Compliance Audit Program (CAP) Closing Letters Summary—the OLMS routinely conducts compliance audits covered by the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). At the conclusion of a CAP audit, a closing letter is sent to the local describing the reporting deficiencies, recordkeeping violations, and internal control problems identified during the audit.
Desk Audit Analysis of LM reports—This type of audit “assesses whether reporting items are completed, whether the report is internally consistent, and whether entries in the ‘Additional Information’ item provided by the reporting organization are adequate.” In the past, some reports have revealed the following deficiencies:
1. One signature only—LM reports require two different officer signatures to sign the report (usually president and treasurer). If one or the other officer is not able to sign, the local’s executive board should authorize one of the executive board members to sign. There should be a full explanation why in the “Additional Information” item.
2. Cash reconciliation imbalance.
3. Beginning cash balance does not equal ending cash balance reported in the previous year.
According to the Department of Labor, “A labor union that has gone out of existence by disbanding, merging into another labor organization, or being merged and consolidated with one or more organizations to form a new organization must file a terminal report. A terminal report must be filed on the same form that the labor organization filed its previous annual report unless its total annual receipts are greater than the maximum receipt limit of the report. A terminal report should be submitted within 30 days after the date of termination and, with all reports filed by affiliates not in trusteeship, should be signed by the officials of the local, not of the international or other parent union.
“Terminating unions should provide in ‘Additional Information’ a detailed statement of the reason the labor organization ceased to exist. Also, they must report in ‘Additional Information’ the plans for the disposition of the labor organization’s cash and other assets, if any (for example, transfer of cash and assets to the parent body). Filers should provide the name and address of the person or organization that will retain the records of the terminated organization. If the organization merged with another labor organization, report that organization’s name, address, and six-digit file number.”
Locals are required to file their LM report electronically no later than ninety (90) days after the end of the local’s fiscal year. For those locals whose fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, the LM report must be filed electronically no later than March 30, 2020 (a day earlier than usual since 2020 is a leap year). A pattern of late filing will likely prompt a DOL audit of your local. When you upload your LM report, you must also upload your local’s latest constitution and bylaws.