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 1, 2014Vince Trombetta - AFM International Executive Board Member and President Emeritus of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA).
Vince Trombetta – AFM International Executive Board Member and President of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA)
Throughout the last few years it has been impressed upon you the serious state of the Federation’s finances. The Federation has a number of strengths, but in years past, its finances have become its Achilles heel. Under AFM President Ray Hair’s guidance, we have worked hard to address this danger. It is with a guarded sense of optimism that I will report that, as a Federation, we have succeeded in making great improvements in our financial condition. However, as I am sure Hair and AFM Secretary-Treasurer Sam Folio would point out to you, we are still financially vulnerable.
This condition didn’t happen overnight and it won’t be reversed overnight; nevertheless, we are making serious forward progress. This success has been accomplished with a lot of belt-tightening on both the Federation’s part and on the part of various locals across the US and Canada.
It’s an oversimplification, but the Federation has reached the point where it is dealing with many of our debts by saving and cost-cutting as much as it can. The only way the rest of our debts will be retired is through every member, in every local, reporting all their engagements and paying whatever work dues are attached to those engagements. It’s not enough for us to refrain from spending money; the Federation needs to bring in new money.
We can implement many cost-saving ideas, and every elected executive board member (IEB) is constantly helping Hair and Folio with fantastic ideas. Our investments help, but it is our collection of money coming in from every local that will either save us or break us!
As musicians, we should practice being prosperous. By this I mean, go out into the world feeling the best you can: fabulous, healthy, and fit. Always remember your health is just another form of wealth. You must put positive energy out into the world to all your acquaintances; it will help you through this maze we call the music business. All of you who are reading this article should be thankful that you’re looking down at the grass and not up at it.
Belief in scarcity does not serve any musician well. Knowing that opportunities abound is the way to start off the New Year. Embrace with confidence the expectations that are available to you. When you feel down and out, put on some nice clothes and put on a brand new prosperous attitude.
Every season in your life comes and goes, very much like the ocean ebbs and flows. Life is change, and change is life. It is through these changes that we are able to clearly see and measure where we have come from, where we are currently, and where we hope and pray to go next. No matter what, never allow anything to extinguish your forward motion and the light that sparkles deep in your musical soul. Always keep in mind a simple rule I always stressed with the many students who studied with me over the years: “You can never achieve excellence without there being some sort of competition facing you.”
There are many employers out there in the world of Oz that can’t help but fire up a serious dislike from our members due to their flagrant maneuvers.
How about this one, showing how much moxie they can muster up, just when you think it’s safe to go into the water? A major US airline features an in-flight video advertisement showing a variety of instrumentalists sidelining in sync to George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” The American composer’s music is being used under some sort of an agreement that allows them to use it for 25 years. Okay, what’s the problem? It was recorded in London with the London Symphony Orchestra. Great orchestra though they are (although I have never added any of their recordings to my collection), they are not one of ours! We, the AFM, must do all in our power, with your help, in the form of letters, etc., to inform the general working public that this is unacceptable. It takes a lot of you-know-what for a US corporation to record outside of the US. What does it prove? It proves they don’t care for organized labor, and the many years of negotiations it has taken us to achieve what we stand for. Thanks, unfriendly skies.
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn professional.”— Hunter S. Thompson
No matter how you digest this point of view, you must agree there are rights and wrongs. Proudly stating how wonderful it is to record the London Symphony Orchestra some “Foggy Day” in London Town, from the executives and advertising marvels of a major airline should cause us some alarm. Insensitivity is no excuse! What strategies must we implement to protect all of us from these politic parasites?
“Money makes the world go round.” God bless the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, and God bless America. Let’s all communicate how much we care for others and how thankful we are that they are a part of our lives, not just on special days scattered throughout the year, but every day.
“Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”— Samuel Ullman