Tag Archives: conferences

Update on Coronavirus Response, Reports, Conferences, the 2019 Audit

Without question, the COVID-19 crisis has created the most serious challenge to AFM members in our 124-year history. Essentially, live music has temporarily ceased due to social distancing and shelter-in-place rules. As a union, we have been working tirelessly to help mitigate the myriad of challenges we face today. We have had success in Washington, DC making sure our advocacy for musicians produces real results. The coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency provisions expand unemployment insurance to include “gig workers” and freelance musicians in addition to W-2 and 1099 employment. There are supplemental payouts up to $600 in addition to the state benefit. Also, there is extended benefit coverage up to an additional 13 weeks and a waiver of the one-week waiting period before collecting your benefit.

As you know by now, all AFM offices are temporarily closed due to governmental directives and our desire to protect the health and safety of AFM members and staff. Most AFM staffers are working remotely and are able to respond to questions by email. An email address list of AFM staff can be found by way of a link on the AFM.org website homepage.

Annual Report

The AFM 2019 Annual Report will soon be available on the AFM.org website for review and download. I will have an email blast sent to members as soon as it is ready to view. After it is posted, go to the Document Library/Financial Documents and Annual Report folder and look for the 2019 Annual Report. In the past, the AFM annual report has been printed, however, the delegates to the 2019 AFM Convention voted to print the annual report only in convention years. This represents a savings of the cost for printing, shipping, and mailing in two of the three years between conventions.

The 2019 Annual Report includes the international president, vice president from Canada, and secretary-treasurer’s officer reports, as well as reports from several AFM staff members. It also contains the recently audited 2019 financial statements and the International Executive Board 2019 meeting minutes. If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call.

AFM Conference CHANGES!

As of this writing, there have been some changes to the AFM regional conference schedule. The Eastern Conference has been rescheduled to take place April 17 through 18, 2021 in King of Prussia, PA. The Locals’ Conferences Council/Player Conferences Council (LCC/PCC) meeting has been rescheduled to take place October 17 through 18, 2020 in Las Vegas, NV (Westgate Hotel). The Canadian Conference has been postponed, with new dates to be announced. Future date changes will be posted on
AFM.org. Click on the Document Library tab and then the Conferences folder.

AFM Bylaws books and List of Locals booklets

The AFM bylaws books and List of Locals booklets were mailed to all local affiliates. The French language AFM bylaws were mailed to the appropriate Canadian locals. If your local has not received your copies, please let us know by emailing a message to the AFM Secretary-Treasurer’s Office.

LM Reports

For those locals that have a calendar fiscal year (January 1 through December 31), your LM report should have been uploaded to the Department of Labor site. The deadline was 90 days from the close of your fiscal year (This year March 30 was the due date—2020 being a leap year). Your latest local constitution and bylaws should have been uploaded as well.

AFM Audit

The annual AFM audit is well underway. While it appears we will have a surplus for 2019, there are many unknowns for 2020. The coronavirus (COVID-19) governmental directives are having a severe economic impact on musicians, locals, and the Federation. In anticipation of the economic fallout, we are monitoring our affected revenue streams and doing our best to manage expenses. We will remain vigilant during these challenging times.

We wish continued good health for all AFM members. Be smart—stay safe, wash hands frequently, practice social distancing, and use good sense if you must leave your home.

Locals Conference Council

LCC-PCC: Where the Conferences Converge!

by Jonathan Ferrone, AFM Assistant Secretary

In the years when there is no AFM Convention, the Federation hosts the Locals Conference Council (LCC) and Players’ Conference Council (PCC). Taking place at the same venue and at the same time of year as the 100th Convention last year, the LCC-PCC affords delegates from both councils the opportunity to exchange information and ideas on appropriate subjects regarding the good and welfare of the AFM, its locals, and its members. In short, it allows these diverse constituencies the opportunity to hold the AFM accountable.

Since I was a local officer at this time in 2016 and I was never a conference delegate, this was my first LCC-PCC. Represented in the 2017 LCC-PCC were the Professional Musicians of California, Canadian, Eastern, Illinois State, Mid America, Mid-States, New England, New Jersey State, New York State, Southern, Professional Musicians of Texas, and Western locals conferences, as well as the five players’ conferences: International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM), Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM), Regional Orchestra Players Association (ROPA), Recording Musicians Association (RMA), and Theater Musicians Association (TMA). The delegates of the conferences are typically officers of the conference, who are elected in conformity with the bylaws of their conferences. 

Players’ Conference leadership at the LCC-PCC (L to R): ICSOM Chair Meredith Snow, OCSM President Robert Fraser, RMA President Marc Sazer,  TMA Vice President Paul Castillo, and ROPA President John Michael Smith.

In attendance from the AFM were executive officers and senior staff, as well as international representatives (IRs). Spread out across the US and Canada, with each servicing the locals in their respective territories, the IRs are often the first line of communication between the AFM and its members. 

Essentially a weekend conference, the first day of the LCC-PCC started out with reports from AFM officers and department directors. AFM President Ray Hair spoke about the general status of the AFM since the convention, current and pending contract negotiations that he is involved with, and the long-term stability of the AFM going forward. AFM Vice President Bruce Fife discussed the recently initiated local officer training program, while Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert gave an update of AFM matters north of the border. AFM Secretary-Treasurer Jay Blumenthal presented a financial and statistical report, and talked about the International Musician Editorial Board. Following departmental reports, representatives of the AFM Employers’ Pension Fund gave a pension presentation.

In the afternoon, the delegates met as councils to formulate topics that they wished to discuss and questions that they wanted to ask. Each conference, of course, brought with it its own unique attributes and needs. As per the AFM Bylaws, the first order of business is to elect an LCC Chair. This year it was Local 7 (Orange County, CA) Secretary Tammy Noreyko, who is also secretary of the Western Conference. 

Locals Conference Council

(L to R) are AFM International Representatives Wally Malone (Western Territory), Cass Acosta (Southeast Territory), Allistair Elliott (All of Canada), and Gene Tournour (Northeast Territory).

On the second day, the LCC and PCC met with AFM officers and staff. Topics of discussion included touring and traveling issues, organizing and membership recruitment, suggestions and ideas for afm.org, and questions about the pension fund. Perhaps the most significant and possibly most overlooked detail about this event is that it is likely the only time these delegates and AFM representatives will all be together outside of a convention. I was struck by the level of knowledge and professionalism of the delegates, and by the smooth discourse between the AFM representatives and the delegates about their respective concerns.

In conclusion, this event was a very successful show of solidarity between several different constituencies within the AFM. I would like to thank all who helped to make this a meaningful event.  See you next year, delegates!    

Is Your Local Represented

Player Conferences — What Are They, and What’s Going on with TMA?

Occasionally, I have gone to speak to college music classes about the union, player conferences, and specifically the Theatre Musicians Association (TMA). Most of the students have inaccurate ideas about the union (AFM) and little or no knowledge of player conferences. This, of course, was the reason that I was there.

Each time I’ve done this, I’ve felt that the students not only enjoyed our presentation, but were also grateful for an honest representation of what’s really going on out there. However, I am surprised to encounter many union musicians, especially some who are performing in theatre pits, who have no idea about player conferences and their role in the AFM. I would like to illuminate folks on this issue. This may be redundant to some, but I hope informative to others.

In the AFM Bylaws, a player conference is defined as “A conference composed of representatives of member-musicians in specialized fields of employment.” Unlike the AFM and its locals, a player conference dedicates 100% of its focus on the genre it represents, i.e. theatre, orchestra, recording. There are five official player conferences in the AFM: International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM), Regional Orchestra Players Association (ROPA), Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM), Recording Musicians Association (RMA), and Theatre Musicians Association (TMA). Each player conference shares the common thread of having been formed by a group of musicians who desired focused representation of their group within the AFM.

The Player Conferences Council (PCC) comprises one representative from each of the five player conferences. The PCC meets several times each year via e-mail or teleconference to discuss what’s going on with their individual conferences, as well as mutual issues and concerns. It also meets annually (in non-AFM Convention years) with the Locals Conference Council (LCC). As stated in the AFM Bylaws, “The purpose of these councils is to exchange information and ideas on appropriate subjects regarding the good and welfare of the AFM, its locals, and its members.”

Speaking for TMA, I can honestly say that we have a great relationship with the AFM. AFM President Hair, the International Executive Board (IEB), and the AFM Touring/Theatre/Booking Division consult and keep us in the loop with all AFM theatre-related issues.

Player ConferencesTMA is a member of the AFM Pamphlet B Negotiating Committee, which is the contract for AFM musical theatre touring musicians. TMA also has its own Pamphlet B Committee, currently headed by TMA Vice President Walter Usiatynski, which prepares for the negotiations more than a year in advance. It does so through surveying our traveling and local members and one-on-one discussions with traveling musicians when they play shows in the jurisdiction of one of our chapters. We also compare notes with the AFM Touring/Theatre/Booking Division, headed by Michael Manley. He sends out a survey to touring musicians as well.

The AFM and the Broadway Theatre League have recently finished the first round of the 2016 Pamphlet B negotiations. TMA has a very active role on the negotiating team as it did in the previous negotiations in 2012. The present negotiations are scheduled to continue in July, after the AFM Convention.

TMA would like to congratulate the AFM on its historic 100th Convention! It will be held in Las Vegas, July 20-24. As a member of the PCC, TMA is allowed to address the AFM Convention. We will be speaking Monday, June 20.

I am proud to announce that the 21st Annual TMA Conference will be held August 22-23, 2016 in Washington, DC, at the Loews Madison Hotel. The Washington, DC, location was chosen to honor one of our newest chapters. We hope that you will be able to attend.

TMA is the AFM Player Conference devoted solely to issues and concerns of theatre musicians. We’re a voluntary organization. If you’re a theatre musician in the AFM, doesn’t it make sense to be a TMA member?