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, 2022John Acosta - AFM IEB Member and President, Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA)
After a very complicated and mixed 2021, we have the good fortune of moving forward into a new year. Like waking up to a new sunny morning after many days of thunderstorms, a new year brings new hope, but during these uncertain times, new challenges as well.
For those of you who have lost loved ones due to COVID-19, I offer my deepest sympathies. We all have been touched by the pandemic in some way. While the pandemic has been a body blow to people around the world, the working class is truly hurt the most. This moment in time provides us an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned over the past two years and hopefully, help us assess how best to move forward during these difficult times.
If we have learned anything during the pandemic, certainly it should be crystal clear that health care and affordable access to it should be universal rights. No person should be without access to a doctor or medicine. This pandemic has shown us the importance of union contracts and the benefits that we gain at the bargaining table.
Our industry is in its second year of a shutdown that has drastically reduced our activities as professional musicians. Whether you perform in an orchestra or nightclub band, or do studio work or music preparation, all sectors in our industry are hurting from the effects of this pandemic. God only knows what the long-lasting results may be. Who would have imagined a health crisis would put hundreds of millions of workers around the world on the street and shuttered hundreds of thousands of venues globally?
Our union has not been spared. Cancellations of services hit musicians in the pocket and the union in the treasury. From small locals to large locals, the financial strains of the pandemic are testing us hard. But all is not doom and gloom.
While we are in year two of the COVID-19 pandemic, our union is weathering the storm. Local officers rolled up their sleeves, cutting their own salaries to keep the lights on. Local and national staff have become lifelines of information, contact, and support for musicians shut out of work by circumstances no one could have prepared for.
Our union remains strong because of the commitment of our leadership to keep us together and the commitment we have to each other of mutual support and solidarity. As we move out of this phase of the pandemic, there will be more challenges ahead. As we rebuild, let’s build strong foundations. Let’s recommit ourselves to our union, which has been a beacon during dark days. As we move forward, let’s move forward together, united under the AFM banner. Let’s recruit and organize, build, and bargain. And give the world that healing music that is needed now more than ever.