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.
March 25, 2015IM -
by Jay Blumenthal, AFM Director Symphonic Services Division
Union members must have the ability to speak freely in union meetings without the fear of reprisals. Since a management presence could have a “chilling effect” on open and frank discussions and the employees’ engagement in union activities, managerial supervisors are excluded from our union meetings. This is a principle well-settled in federal labor law. Recently, a challenge to this tenet arose from the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Society (Society).
A musician in the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) who also serves as senior director of artistic planning expected that he would have unfettered access to orchestra/union meetings. As senior director of artistic planning the musician makes artistic decisions that affect the employment of other musicians in the orchestra and is therefore a supervisory employee. Because of this, some musicians and the union believed his attendance at orchestra/union meetings would naturally inhibit the other members’ union activity and speech. Although some musicians were unconcerned about his attendance at meetings, it was important for the union to take steps to protect the rights of all members to freely participate in union activities.
Consequently, an unfair labor practice charge (ULP) was filed by the AFM against the Society. Region 18 of the National Labor Relations Board found merit in the charge and issued a complaint. Just days prior to a scheduled hearing before an administrative law judge, the Society and the AFM reached a settlement agreement. Pursuant to the agreement’s terms, the Society’s senior director of artistic planning is generally prohibited from attending orchestra/union meetings of the SPCO musicians. The union has the discretion—but no obligation—to allow this dual-status employee to attend portions of meetings during which no collective bargaining, contract administration, or similar sensitive issues will be discussed. The AFM is pleased with this resolution that protects the SPCO musicians’ right to engage in union activities without fear of adverse consequences to their employment.