The year 2021 is now upon us. With that comes a new Biden administration and the new 117th Congress. The AFM’s work intensifies as we confront a plethora of new political and legislative issues; and, because of that, we really look forward to your help getting our issues across the goal line.
Although all the chaotic activity here in Washington over the past few weeks has taken its toll, our democracy drives forward as our elected officials endeavor to keep government open and operational. I would like to avoid a dive into the social and political unrest that crippled us and talk about those issues that will have a direct impact on our jobs and our lives—this so we can be prepared to act when the time is right under the new Biden administration, and the new Democratically controlled House and Senate. As workers, we are in an advantageous position at this moment in time, and your union will be asking you to help make contact with your legislators both in your respective congressional districts as well as here in Washington, DC.
Helping to guarantee retirement security
Now that there is a new administration and Congress, we look forward to a possible solution to the multiemployer pension process. Organized labor has presented the Biden transition team with details on such a solution. We know that AFM-EPF trustees have reached out to you, keeping you informed on the regulatory front. However, my office will need your help making contact with your House and Senate legislators when the time comes to respond to any new proposed legislation. We are not sure at this time exactly what that will entail. However, President Hair and I, along with AFM-EPF trustees, will be developing a member-driven advocacy strategy. We look forward to having you participate, so please be prepared to engage multiple times.
The AM-FM Act
Performance rights legislation—More money in your pocket and greater protection of your creative content
The AM-FM (Ask Musicians For Music) Act will come up again during the new 117th Congress and, again, we will need your help reaching out to your elected officials in both the House and Senate to help pass this legislation through each chamber.
As you may know, passage of this legislation will establish a new income stream for those whose creative content is currently performed on AM and FM radio without compensation from broadcasters. This has been an ongoing fight over the years that has placed the AFM in a position on several occasions to bring this legislation up for a vote. Likewise, the broadcasters have, each Congress, introduced their nonbinding Local Radio Freedom Act (LRFA) resolution that is designed to encourage legislators in Washington to avoid giving us the rights and remuneration we deserve for our creative content. This is content from which they make billions of advertising dollars, while not recognizing your content ownership and hard work.
In cooperation with the Music First Coalition, we imagine a light at the end of this tunnel under a pro-worker, pro-intellectual property Biden administration that will push the AM-FM Act across the finish line. Please stay prepared: We will need you to sign onto letters, make calls, and visit your senators and representatives.
HR 1–For the People Act of 2021
This key piece of pro-labor legislation is supported by all AFL-CIO affiliates and is designed “to expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and implement other anti-corruption measures for the purpose of fortifying our democracy, and for other purposes.” Key components of this legislation include voting rights reform, election reform, and overall democracy reform, to name a few.
The PRO Act
The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act has yet to be introduced in the new 117th Congress. The PRO Act expands various labor protections related to employees’ rights to organize and collectively bargain in the workplace. The bill passed the House during the 116th Congress and was sent to the Senate Republican leader’s desk, but it saw no action. The bill is expected to be reintroduced in the 117th Congress with an eye toward passage in this Democratically led House and Senate.
It’s important that we keep our eyes on the prize. Labor-friendly legislation that will benefit our workers and our union will be prominent in this Congress. Please stay tuned to hear from your union about legislative and political campaigns that will help us succeed.
In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to your federal elected officials and tell them to support pro-union legislation. To find contact information for your senators and representative, visit these websites: