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.
September 12, 2016Jay Blumenthal - AFM International Secretary-Treasurer
Recently the US Department of Labor distributed a communication that will impact all those filing Forms LM-2, LM-3, and LM-4 Labor Organization Annual Reports. This includes AFM Locals, regional AFM Conferences, and AFM Player Conferences.
It says, in part:
“On July 1, 2016, the Office of Management and Budget approved the Office of Labor-Management Standards’ (OLMS) revisions to the information collection request, as well as the Forms LM-2, LM-3, and LM-4 Labor Organization Annual Report instructions.
These changes require filers of the Forms LM-3 and LM-4 to submit the reports electronically and offer them temporary and continuing hardship exemptions when electronic filing will cause undue burden or expense. The changes also modify the hardship exemption process for Form LM-2 filers, by eliminating the continuing hardship exemption for Form LM-2 filers.”
The mandatory LM-3 and LM-4 electronic filing, as well as the changes to the LM-2 hardship process, will be applicable to fiscal years beginning on or after January 1, 2017. Please make any necessary preparations so you are ready to file electronically.
This year’s Regional Orchestra Players’ Association (ROPA) Conference took place in Madison, Wisconsin. The conference took on additional significance because ROPA President Carla Lehmeier-Tatum has stepped aside after nine years of dedicated service on behalf of symphonic musicians. In recent years, ROPA has grown its membership to 87 regional orchestras. This year’s conference was full of interesting speakers (Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Allison Beck, Vice President of Research and Policy for Americans for the Arts Randy Cohen) and presentations (Union Perception at the Work Place/Connecting with Younger Members, Building Community Support). Rochelle Skolnick, Symphonic Services Division (SSD) counsel, conducted a mock grievance workshop that provided a hands-on learning experience for the delegates. ROPA’s new president is John Michael Smith. Smith previously served as a ROPA member at-large, as well as a member of the ROPA Media Committee.
The Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians/Organisation des Musiciens d’Orchestre Symphonique du Canada (OCSM/OMOSC) held its annual conference in downtown Calgary, Alberta. Highlights of the conference included keynote speaker Tommy Banks who is a jazz pianist and retired senator for Alberta. He spoke about effective lobbying and his vision of new approaches to media. There were also reports and presentations by the Musicians’ Pension Fund of Canada, Orchestras Canada, Canada Council, AFM officers, and SSD staff. OCSM/OMOSC Counsel Michael Wright spoke about equity in the bargaining unit and issues around the use of social media.
TMA and ICSOM Conferences
The Theater Musician’s Association (TMA) Conference (August 22-23) and the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) Conference (August 24-27) took place in Washington, DC. These conferences are always engaging and I will have a report in my next column.
Finally, conference attendance provides an opportunity for elected delegates, AFM officers, and invited guests to come together to network, discuss, debate, and learn about relevant issues affecting our field. I always feel better informed and energized after returning from these conferences. If you have never attended a player conference, I highly recommend you do. You won’t be disappointed.