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Home » Officer Columns » Secretary-Treasurer’s Message

Secretary-Treasurer’s Message

  -  AFM International Secretary-Treasurer

The article on page 6 of the July IM issue describes the many executive actions taken by US President Biden that have leveled the playing field between working people and their employers and that will operate to bring new good jobs as a reinvestment in the economy. These are actions that any US president may take without legislative permission from the federal legislature. In the US, with a Congress apparently unable or unwilling to pass any legislation useful to the country, executive action becomes the only avenue through which any change at the federal level, good or bad, can be initiated.

The paragraph concluding at the top of the center column on page 6, however, briefly reports on House Republican efforts to block an increase to the federal minimum wage and to introduce legislation to reverse Biden’s executive order to further protect prevailing wage for federal construction projects under the Davis-Bacon Act.

Page 8 of this issue also reports on Biden’s veto of a Congressional Review Act that would overturn a Labor Board rule prohibiting an employer corporation from hiding behind a subcontractor in order to evade the duty to bargain with its employees’ union.

The point of this little discussion is not about President Biden’s value to working Americans. It is, rather, about just how ephemeral are the rights we believe we enjoy. Whatever blessings or benefits that we as citizens receive from friendly Prime Ministers, Presidents, Parliaments or Congresses, someone will rise up to try to snatch them away at the first opportunity.

The question that surfaces is, “Shall we allow that to happen?”

The quadrennially-produced year-long media circus of US Presidential elections is under way, which will determine not only whether American musicians have a friend or felon in the White House, but also whether Congress will be controlled by Democrats or held hostage by the crazies, which will affect federal funding for the arts.

Similarly, Canadian musicians will be deciding in the next several months which political party will control Parliament and who they will accordingly inherit as Prime Minister. Word on the street is that the average voter has tired of Justin Trudeau, which bodes ill for the Liberal Party and raises the specter of the Conservative Party back in power. A Conservative Party triumph portends budget cutbacks to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which many musicians across Canada rely upon for a portion of their earnings.

The emerging gloom around an event that hasn’t even happened yet is palpable.

Knowing that mainstream Canadians and Americans are generally OK with funding a federal government that will advance laws and programs designed to enhance the economic security of the citizenry, it’s a fascination of mine that this same citizenry will consider buying into the politics of personality and elect governments that absolutely will not have their best interests at heart.

An informed citizenry will not vote against their best interests, but a citizenry held in thrall by social media tripe, piped through their smartphones on a 24/7 basis, certainly can do so, and indeed has done so. But it need not be that way this time.

My challenge to each one of us in our upcoming elections is to seriously investigate and affirmatively and objectively determine which candidates or parties will best serve our economic interests. Seriously investigating means reading actual news written by actual reporters, not social media feeds driven by AI algorithms, seeing memes as fun not fact; listening to candidates with a critical, not romantic, ear; reading the manifestos of the political parties (not the manifestos crafted for ordinary folks, but the ones crafted for the captains of industry); and depositing your votes in favor of those to whom our wallets say, “Yes!”

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