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



jay blumenthal

Jay Blumenthal – AFM International Secretary-Treasurer

    Take a Look at Our New AFM Headquarters

    This issue of International Musician features some photos recently taken at the AFM office in New York which moved into new office space on the ninth floor at 1501 Broadway on April 1, 2019. The office consists of 18,332 rentable square feet (RSF). RSF is a term of art in that it includes square footage that cannot actually be utilized, such as a percentage of the common areas of the building (e.g. hallways, lobbies, and common restrooms). The ninth floor at 1501 had to be completely remodeled and the architectural firm of Loffredo Brooks was engaged to design our new space.

    The old lease for the
    sixth-floor office expired requiring a move-out date no later than March 31,
    2019. Any holdover meant we would incur a financial penalty. Even though the
    new space was not completely finished, we moved in during the last weekend in
    March. Our new lease is for 15 years and 10 months. We pay half rent for the
    first 10 months as part of the deal. After 10 years, the AFM has the option to
    leave if the real estate market presents a great purchase opportunity. While we
    would incur some costs if we leave at the 10-year mark (for the unamortized
    cost of construction that was paid by the landlord), we wanted to preserve the

    The move went smoothly
    but we did experience one major hiccup. The telephone line from the basement of
    the building to the ninth floor had mysteriously been cut which resulted in a
    nearly two week delay before we had full telephone service. With this one
    exception, the move went well.

    afm headquarters
    Secretary-Treasurer Jay Blumenthal in his new office.

    The new glass entry
    doors proudly display the AFM seal and lead to the reception desk and a waiting
    area. The office is bright and cheery with windows along the perimeter
    (Broadway, West 43rd St. and West 44th St.) overlooking Times Square—the
    crossroads of the world. The new office features a slightly larger boardroom to
    hold collective bargaining negotiations. It has banquette seating along one of
    the walls which can now accommodate attendance by musician negotiating
    committees. We also have two conference rooms; one conference room can
    accommodate six people and the other eight people. These rooms will be used for
    caucuses during negotiations and meetings at other times. The boardroom and
    both conference rooms are equipped with the latest technology to support video
    conferencing. Virtual meetings, when appropriate, help the AFM save on
    traveling expenses.

    years, our dedicated staff endured a very cramped kitchen/lunchroom area. The
    new kitchen/lunchroom has five tables with chairs. Two small alcoves contain
    banquette seating with tables for more private conversations. The one microwave
    oven which overheated regularly in the old space has been replaced with two new
    higher-powered microwaves. A new refrigerator, dishwasher, small ice maker, and
    water cooler complete the space.

    A small wellness room
    with a reclining chair is intended to provide a place for a short, private
    respite for someone who is not feeling well.

    Our sole tenant, the
    Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF), occupies their own space within our
    office. It contains three private offices and a common area with a work

    So if you are in New York
    City, please stop by to see your new home. I think you will like what you see.

    Read More

    The Formation of AFM Bylaws

    The committee
    process developed for AFM Conventions that vets recommendations and resolutions
    has served the Federation well for numerous decades. Submitting resolutions by
    the March 1 deadline in a convention year provides an opportunity for them to
    be printed and published prior to the convention. Resolutions are then assigned
    to an appropriate convention committee. At the convention, committee chairs
    announce to the attendees the time, place, and which resolution(s) the
    committee will be discussing that day. Proponents can go before the committee
    and speak in favor of the resolution and opponents can speak against the
    resolution with time allowed for questions from the committee members.

    committees often spend many hours discussing and debating the pros and cons of
    recommendations and resolutions. There are times when a resolution may have
    unintended consequences that were unanticipated by those who submitted it. All
    of the ramifications of a resolution must be taken into account by the
    committee. Once the committee has completed their discussion, a vote of the
    committee is taken to determine what the committee will recommend to the

    When the
    convention is in session, the committee chair first makes a report to the
    delegates, sharing some of their discussion and reasons for how they arrived at
    their recommendation. There are several options the committee may suggest. They
    may recommend its adoption, suggest an amendment, or recommend it be defeated.
    Sometimes the committee may suggest a substitute resolution or even suggest
    that those submitting the resolution withdraw it. (Proponents wishing to
    withdraw their resolution must request permission from the assembly to withdraw
    it. This requires a majority vote or general consent, i.e. without objection.)
    At times, a committee may recommend a resolution be referred to the
    International Executive Board. At this point, delegates have an opportunity to
    debate the resolution. At the close of debate, the delegates vote on the

    In the event of
    an emergency, the bylaws allow for an emergency resolution to be introduced to
    the convention. The framers of the bylaws took emergencies into consideration
    allowing for the ability of delegates to address real emergencies but requiring
    a two-thirds majority vote to introduce the emergency resolution to the convention.
    There are indeed times when an important issue comes to light after the March 1
    submission date. A good example of this took place at the recent convention,
    when the Baltimore Symphony musicians were locked out by their management after
    the March 1 date. The delegates wanted to make a strong statement in support of
    the BSO musicians, and an emergency resolution was necessary in order to do so.

    That said, there
    were some emergency resolutions that were put forth at the convention that in
    my opinion were not actual emergencies. Since emergency resolutions do not go
    through the same careful vetting process (in committee) that normal resolutions
    do, these last-minute resolutions can be a cause for concern. A momentary knee
    jerk reaction can leave us with an ill-considered bylaw that cannot be changed
    until the next convention. This is only meant as a word of caution for the next
    convention if a questionable “emergency” resolution is proposed.

    Now that the convention
    is over, we will be moving forward with a new printing of the AFM bylaws which
    will include the changes to the bylaws adopted at the convention. In addition,
    there will be a proceedings booklet that will include the convention minutes
    and the roll call.

    Read More

    Division in a Union Is Like Kryptonite

    It’s a challenge writing this month’s column since
    it is being written before the AFM Convention and published after the
    convention. Having attended many AFM conventions, I’ve learned that much can
    happen. There are often several unanticipated twists, turns, and unexpected
    issues that come before the delegates. This is all part of the democratic
    process. At times it can get quite messy, but ultimately it’s a very healthy
    process for our union.

    Read More

    2019 AFM 101st Convention Coming Soon!

    The 2019 AFM 101st Convention will be held at the Westgate Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. Registration will begin Sunday, June 16, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and continue on Monday, June 17, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. preceding the opening of the convention. Once registered, AFM delegates will receive a convention bag with a printed copy of the 2018 AFM Annual Report (which includes the audited financials), the printed AFM 101st Convention Recommendations and Resolutions book, a printed AFM 101st Convention Book and a list of names and addresses of establishments in Las Vegas using live union music (provided by Local 369). In addition, the bag will include a thumb drive containing electronic copies of the 2018 Annual Report, 101st Convention Recommendations and Resolutions book, 2019 List of Locals, 2019 Local Officer Resource Guide, 2016 AFM Bylaws, and the previous Official Proceedings. The bag will also contain various convention souvenirs.

    Read More

    We’re In!

    The long-awaited move to our new office space
    happened April 1. The construction timeline to build out the new space was very
    tight, so things went right down to the wire, which created plenty of angst and
    nail biting. The AFM International Executive Board (IEB) meeting scheduled for
    April 2 was the first official meeting in the new space. While the vast
    majority of the construction work was completed, some work continued into the
    next month. The “punch list” (things needing further attention to make sure
    everything is working properly) will be addressed during April/May.

    Read More