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AFM 100th Convention

AFM 100th Convention Highlights

AFM 100th ConventionDuring June, the historic AFM 100th Convention took place at the Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. From pre-convention regional meetings to the swearing in of officers on the final day, the proceedings ran smoothly and were a true demonstration of solidarity.

Among the many guest speakers this year were: SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator David White; AFM & SAG-AFTRA Fund Executive Director Dennis Dreith; Actors’ Equity Association President Kate Shindle; Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) Trustee Dan Beck; General Secretary International Federation of Musicians (FIM) Benoit Machuel; and Executive Director Film Musicians Secondary Market Fund Administrator Kim Roberts Hedgpeth.

The various conference and association representatives—Theater Musicians Association (TMA) President Tom Mendel, Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM) President Robert Fraser, Regional Orchestra Players Association (ROPA) President Carla Lehmeier-Tatum, Recording Musicians Association (RMA) President Marc Sazer, and International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) Chair Bruce Ridge—addressed the delegates.

Among the topics discussed by delegates were recommendations and resolutions for proposed changes to AFM Bylaws to help the AFM better serve the needs of modern musicians. A total of 13 specially focused committees of delegates and AFM staff met to discuss and debate focused topics, concerns, and resolutions relating to law, finance, credentials, measures and benefits, organization and legislation, International Musician, public relations, TEMPO, small locals, election, good & welfare, diversity, and organizing.

Other convention highlights included reports from AFM staff. Director of Organizing & Education/Assistant to the President Paul Frank detailed recent and current organizing campaigns in Seattle, Fort Worth, and Washington, DC. A beautiful memorial service, held on the second day, honored AFM members and staff who have passed away since the last AFM Convention in 2013.

For the most part, “team unity,” led by AFM President Ray Hair remained intact after elections. However, Vince Trombetta stepped down as an International Executive Board member and John Acosta was added. Also, AFM Secretary-Treasurer Sam Folio will be replaced by current AFM Symphonic Services Division Director Jay Blumenthal.

As of August 1, the AFM International Executive Board will consist of President Ray Hair, Vice President Bruce Fife, Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert, and Secretary-Treasurer Blumenthal, plus board members Acosta (Local 47 president), Dave Pomeroy (Local 257 President), Tina Morrison (Local 105 vice president), Tino Gagliardi (Local 802 President), and Joe Parente (Local 77 President).

Look for detailed Convention coverage in the August International Musician.

Candidates Seeking Election for AFM Office

An important part of each AFM Convention is the nomination and election of international officers who will lead the organization during the next three years. Also elected are delegates to the AFL-CIO Convention. Article 19, Section 2 of the AFM Bylaws provides for the publication of campaign statements by those candidates who have declared their intent to run for office. No candidate is required to publish a statement and all candidates may at any time prior to nominations pursue an office other than the one identified below.


Raymond M. Hair, Jr., Local 72-147 (Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX)

Thank you for the privilege of serving as your president with this marvelous Unity Team. We’ve restored and maintained fiscal responsibility. With openness, activism, and real unionism, we’re negotiating and enforcing smart, progressive agreements. Through governmental advocacy, we’ve protected musicians’ interests and improved their lives. We’ve opened doors and found new rights money for AFM members, who make the music the world wants to hear. Difficult problems resolve with teamwork and Unity. Working together, we can preserve and protect our union and keep it strong, because we are stronger together. We ask for your vote. We are a winning team.


Bruce Fife, Local 99 (Portland, OR) President

It’s been an honor to represent and serve you as vice president of the American Federation of Musicians. Our union must remain strong and consistent in its leadership, provide the tools and support for our locals to remain vibrant, organize, and build our membership, and continue to strive for successful outcomes in critical local, national, and international negotiations. While we have not won every campaign, our team remains strong and our victories noteworthy. I ask for your continued trust, support, and guidance as we move forward and work together to keep our union strong and adaptive in this evolving industry.


Mark Jamison, Local 149 (Toronto, ON)

Canadian AFM members want to undertake a consensus-based review of AFM Canada’s activities that will serve the needs and aspirations of Canadian musicians. I was trained and worked as a symphony bass player and have had a successful career as an association executive leading media, business, and cultural membership organizations. With the skills, knowledge, and management success that I offer, as VP AFM Canada, I will help members identify approaches to key 21st Century contractual, regulatory, and professional image challenges and opportunities. I appreciate the encouragement of many members across Canada. It would be a privilege to serve you.

Alan Willaert, Local 149

The challenges facing Canadian musicians, and those of us who represent them, have increased exponentially over the last few years. Status quo is no longer an option, and we have therefore served notice to bargain on several large employers in the broadcast world. While this action will undoubtedly increase employment opportunities for members, the additional work involved is substantial. It has been my honour to serve as vice president from Canada, and I’m asking for the opportunity to continue, face those employers across the table, and finish what we started.


Jay Blumenthal, Local 802 (New York City)

Like so many of you, my 41 years of AFM membership has played a central role in my career as a professional musician. Every dollar the Federation receives to advance our mission is tied in some way to the work that you do as a professional musician. That’s why the spending of union funds must improve the lives and protect the livelihoods of our members. Creating a financially stable AFM while fighting for justice in the workplace, building solidarity, and educating our membership will ensure a stronger union for current and future members.


John Acosta, Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) President

It is with great humility that I announce my candidacy for the AFM International Executive Board. For over a decade it has been an honor to serve the amazing musicians of our great union. Together we have fought on the street and at the bargaining table, and on the IEB I will continue the fight for improved economic conditions and better standards for all AFM members. It is an honor to be part of President Hair’s “Team Unity,” the stabilizing force that has rebuilt our AFM. Music is our passion! Now let’s put the same passion into our union!

Joe Boettger, Local 542 (Flint, MI) President

Joe Boettger, President of Local 542, Flint, Michigan, intends to run for an executive board member seat on the International Executive Board. He will be a voice for post-industrial and small locals. He will listen to all Local leadership and advocate continually for them at the international level. He has a pragmatism and fortitude developed from surviving in one of the most hostile labor and human environments currently in the United States. Canadian artists often work in his jurisdiction and he will advocate equally for their concerns. AFM needs a person of this vision and understanding on the IEB now.

Tino Gagliardi, Local 802 President

Having been a part of a union that continues to transform itself through honest and open discussion about the challenges we face is rewarding and has benefited our union over the past six years. This collaborative, comprehensive model contributes to our standing at the bargaining table and continues to address the financial and organizational challenges we face. Working on behalf of all musicians, it is this administration that continues to foster and promote this environment. Please support the Unity Team so we may continue to improve the standards for our members and strengthen our union.

Tina Morrison, Local 105 (Spokane, WA) Vice President

Our union changed directions by electing this administration and then re-electing our team. Stabilization came first with much accomplished via a complex network of activities setting foundations for new relationships and future income streams for musicians in this global economy. We’ve faced many challenges together, however there is more to do. Certain paths became labyrinths but the goals set forth by our mission statement continue to guide us forward. I would appreciate your vote so we can continue the work of making our union inclusive and relevant to all working musicians.

Joe Parente, Local 77 (Philadelphia, PA) President

The last convention has given the Federation the tools to continue in the direction of improving the lives of all AFM members. The IEB has had to make difficult decisions in dealing with the problems we are all facing. With the confidence the last convention showed us, Team Unity will continue to represent our members in an effort to improve all of our lives as professional musicians. I am dedicated, as are all the Federation officers, to continuing to fight for the rights and welfare of all members of the AFM. I ask your support for re-election to the IEB.

Dave Pomeroy, Local 257 (Nashville, TN) President

It has been an honor to serve you as an IEB member for the past six years. I have been a working musician for nearly 40 years, and first got involved in AFM issues long ago because I saw a need for our union to “get real” and evolve with the times. It has not been easy, but the bottom line is that this team has made a real difference in how the AFM takes care of business for its members. We will always be stronger when we are united by our common goal of promoting respect for all musicians.  

George Troia, Jr., Local 5 (Detroit, MI) President

I, George Troia , Jr. announce my candidacy for a seat on the International Executive Board of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada. I am grateful to have been blessed with a with a multi-faceted musical career over the past 50 years, full of experiences that I believe to be valuable to the direction of the Federation in this new century. My primary goal in union representation is, and will always be, making life better for musicians. I humbly ask you for your support in this endeavor.

Is Your Local Represented

Everyone’s Voice Counts: Is Your Local Represented?

joe-parenteby Joe Parente, AFM IEB Member and President of Local 77 (Philadelphia, PA)

In two months, the AFM will hold its 100th Convention in Las Vegas. Aside from being a historic event for the Federation, the convention will once again afford the opportunity for delegates to help shape the future of our union.

Since the last convention in 2013, the Federation has successfully negotiated most of its media agreements; collected money for musicians due them for violations under the Motion Picture Agreements; continued the fight for expedited visas, the ARTS Act, and for musicians traveling to this country; and supported the creation of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, which would require AM/FM radio to pay performance rights royalties. However, none of this would be possible without what is probably the most important factor—the Federation’s ability to maintain its financial stability.

Any success the Federation has had over the last three years have not merely been the result of the Federation itself. The AFM relies on each member of the union, through its locals, and in turn, through its delegates at the convention, to make decisions on resolutions, recommendations, and bylaw changes that will affect all members of the AFM.  These decisions establish the policies for the Federation going forward.

However, the reality is that we have had an increase in merged locals. And when we merge locals, we lose members. Not once in a while … not every so often … every time. Loss of members means less per capita for the Federation and fewer locals and delegates attending the convention, resulting in some members not being represented.

The number of locals attending conventions over the last 10 years has been steadily declining. Fewer locals, equal fewer delegates, and again, more members not being represented. I know some locals are experiencing financial hardships. I also know that all locals should be involved in the process of shaping the Federation in the future. Those two statements seem to pose a problem to which no one has an answer—at least not yet.

Everyone’s opinions count. Everyone’s ideas count. Everyone’s voice counts. We must find a solution so everyone counts!

100th Convention is Open to All Members

Ever wonder what takes place at an AFM Convention? Ever wanted to watch your local delegates in action? This year, from June 20-23, AFM delegates will again gather in Las Vegas, Nevada, to determine the direction of the AFM for the next three years. While all locals send elected delegates, any AFM member may attend. The AFM is pleased to invite members and spouses who wish to do so to attend as guests. The convention headquarters—the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino—has extended its special low room rate to all AFM members during convention week.

If you choose to attend, you will be invited to the gala reception on Sunday evening, June 19, at the Westgate’s Ballroom that will feature the best in live music. There will be bands performing on Sunday afternoon in the convention area while the delegates and guests register for the convention. Visitors will be given badges that allow them access to the convention area, and entitle them to hear the floor debate on crucial issues facing the AFM today. They will also receive a souvenir 100th AFM Convention program and discount coupons for shows.

Visitors will have a chance to meet Federation officers as well as local officers from all around the US and Canada. They will also hear the Federation President’s State of the Union message and listen to the delegates debate the merits of many initiatives that will chart the AFM’s next three years. In addition, there will be plenty of opportunities to see the sights in and around Las Vegas. Day trips to Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon are available, plus the many shows in and around the world-famous Vegas strip. So mark the dates on your calendar and prepare to watch democracy in action at the AFM Convention.

For your convenience, you may now book your hotel reservation online. Please visit the AFM website www.afm.org/convention and follow the link, which will connect you directly to the AFM Convention’s Westgate reservations page. You may also reserve your room by phoning the Westgate using their toll free number, 1-800-635-7711. If reserving by telephone, please provide the Westgate representative with the AFM’s convention code, SAFM6R