Tag Archives: elections


Mid-Term Elections Upend Executive and Legislative Branch Single Party Governance, Women Triumph!

On November 6, the American electorate voted to overturn single party governance within Congress. By the end of the evening, Republicans maintained control of the US Senate, picking up seats, while the Democrats took full control of the US House of Representatives, secured by a 39-seat pick up.

The balance of power in the House, as reported by Real Clear Politics (RCP) November 20, is 234 Democrats to 200 Republicans. RCP reports that the Senate remains in Republican control with a 52 to 47 margin of victory and one race still being decided. Of the 36 states and territories that held governor races, RCP results show 23 Democrats (a pickup of seven seats) to 27 Republicans (a loss of six seats).

The change in the House means that Democrats will control the speaker’s gavel and will take control of vital committee chairmanships once Democratic leadership is voted in. AFL-CIO leadership, led by the AFL-CIO Political Department, tracked the progress of elections in all 50 state legislatures as well.

Women, People of Color, LGBT, and Immigrant Candidates
Make History

For those seeking parity, the 2018 election offered hope for a government that reflects the society it serves. Groundbreaking firsts were abundant. During this cycle, 185 women Democrats and 52 Republican women ran for Congress. At least 125 women were elected. An analysis by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University reported that 35 first-time women members were elected to the House of Representatives, while 13 women were elected to the Senate. This includes the youngest person ever elected to US Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), 29, as well as two Muslim women, Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) of Somali descent.

In addition, two Native American Representatives were elected: Sharice Davids (D-KS) of the Ho-Chunk Nation who identifies as a lesbian and Deb Haaland (D-NM) of the Pueblo of Laguna tribe. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Jahana Hayes (D-CT) are the first black women from their states elected to Congress. In the Senate, Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) are the first women senators from their states.

Election Statistics

AFL-CIO Director of Political/Electoral & Issue Mobilization Julie Greene gave a November 7 report on the outcome of the election, minus a few races that were still being counted.

Governor Races: Seven Democratic gains: Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Maine, New Mexico, Nevada, and Wisconsin. Republicans held on in Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Oklahoma. All Democratic incumbents won.

Senate Races: Net two Democratic losses: four losses—Donnelly (IN), McCaskill (MO), Heitkamp (ND), and Nelson (FL), plus two gains—Rosen (NV) and Sinema (AZ).

House Races: 39 net Democratic gains thus far (42 gains and three losses). Five Congressional districts (CDs) remain outstanding. Overall, Democrats did best in the well-educated suburban districts, with some gains in blue-collar areas. They have not rebounded to pre-2016 levels, but did sweep the suburbs.

We unexpectedly picked up SC-1, the wealthy, well-educated suburbs where a Trump Republican defeated a moderate incumbent in the primary. The Republican gerrymander in Texas almost broke. We gained two CDs, and came close to gaining six more. In the one remaining race (GA-7) Republicans lead.

Gains: AZ-2, CA-10, CA-25, CA-39, CA-45, CA-48, CA-49, CO-6, FL-26, FL-27, GA-6, IL-6, IL-14, IA-1, IA-3, KS-3, ME-2, MI-8, MI-11, MN-2, MN-3, NJ-2, NJ-3, NJ-7, NJ-11, NM-2, NY-11, NY-19, NY-22, OK-5, PA-5, PA-6, PA-7, PA-17, SC-1, TX-7, TX-32, UT-4, VA-2, VA-7, VA-10, WA-8

Losses: MN-1, MN-8, PA-14 (All vulnerable Democratic incumbents won.)

State Legislation

  • Chambers gained: NH House, NH Senate, ME Senate, MN House, NY Senate, CO Senate
  • Super majorities gained: OR House, OR Senate
  • Republican Supermajorities broken: NC House, NC Senate, MI Senate
  • Trifectas gained: ME, NY, CO, NV, IL, NM
  • Republican trifectas broken: WI, NH, KS

What Results Mean for Musicians

For the three major policy issues on Capitol Hill that impact our lives and work as musicians (pension reform, arts policy, and copyright/intellectual property), bipartisan House and Senate membership losses mark strategic changes as the House falls under Democratic control in January and the Senate remains under Republican control.

Pension Reform: At the end of the 2018 “lame duck” session, the Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multi-Employer Pension Plans loses retiring co-chair Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), as well as Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). On the House side, all members are returning.

Congressional Arts Caucus: Supports National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)—15 Democratic and Republican losses.

Senate Cultural Caucus: Supports NEA, NEH, and CPB—one loss, Hatch (retiring).

House Judiciary Committee: Performance rights legislation, Music Modernization Act (MMA) victory—11 members lost, including Chair Robert Goodlatte (R-VA).

Senate Judiciary Committee: MMA and future performance rights legislation loses Hatch and Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

As always, the AFM’s work will continue, and in some instances, communications will intensify in order to meet the challenge of reaching new members. We look forward to your ongoing help in the new year.

AFM Representatives Participate in 21st Congress of FIM

Bruce Fife headshotby Bruce Fife, AFM International Vice President

The International Federation of Musicians (FIM) held its 21st Congress in Reykjavik, Iceland, June 7-9. Attending and representing the AFM were Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert, International Executive Board member Tino Gagliardi, and International Vice President Bruce Fife.

FIM brings together musician unions from all corners of the globe. Nearly 100 representatives came to this congress, to share, discuss,

FIM General Secretary Benoît Machuel, AFM Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert, AFM Executive Board Member and Local 802 (New York City) President Tino Gagliardi; FIM President John Smith; AFM International Vice President and Local 99 (Portland, OR) President Bruce Fife.

FIM General Secretary Benoît Machuel, AFM Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert, AFM Executive Board Member and Local 802 (New York City) President Tino Gagliardi; FIM President John Smith; AFM International Vice President and Local 99 (Portland, OR) President Bruce Fife.

debate, and act on myriad issues that affect musicians worldwide. Of particular interest to the AFM was achieving a more representative voice within the leadership of FIM in order to assure the issues that are important to our membership have the strongest possible response and input from the international community. To that end, AFM President Ray Hair was elected to the Presidium, the highest executive body of FIM, and AFM Canada also gained a seat on the FIM Executive Committee.

The Congress debated and passed a slate of timely resolutions initiated by the specific unions:

  • An exhortation to governments with whom FIM has representations to fulfill and enforce legislation protecting musicians (Uruguayan Association of Musicians)
  • Equality for women and men in the music sector (FIM African Committee)
  • Recognition of musicians as employees/protected workers, so that they have the same labor rights as other workers (French Musicians Union)
  • Work to create fair and transparent distribution of income by collective
    management organizations (British Musicians’ Union)
  • Intensify the “Fair Internet for Performers” campaign to develop additional income for performers from streaming platforms (British Musicians’ Union)
  • Work to introduce the “Agent of Change Principle” to our respective governments with the goal of protecting our vital inner-city, grass-roots live music venues (British Musicians’ Union)
  • Work to protect the music education systems of Latin America (Musicians’ Union of Rio de Janeiro)
  • Work to establish a procedure and database for identifying international airlines with good records for instrument carry-on (German Orchestra Union)
  • Create a program for the collection and shipment of musical instruments to Africa (FIM African Committee)

(L to R): Swedish Musicians Union President Jan Granvik, British Musicians Union Assistant Secretary Horace Trubridge, and AFM International Vice President Bruce Fife.

(L to R): Swedish Musicians Union President Jan Granvik, British Musicians Union Assistant Secretary Horace Trubridge, and AFM International Vice President Bruce Fife.

As you can see, the topics are ones we can relate to, or ones we have faced in one form or another, and have either resolved or continue to work on. For example, the AFM has successfully dealt with the issue of traveling with instruments in the US, but once you leave our shores, all bets are off. Also, while I believe that the defunding of our public school music programs may have bottomed out and we’re starting to move in the right direction, much of the rest of the world seems to be where we were 15 years ago, with a downward trend destroying their school music programs because of austerity measures.

There were also numerous panel presentations, one of which I participated on. A robust discussion of online music and related royalty streams with representatives from England, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Hungary, and of course, the US, focused specifically on how we get streaming money into the hands of our musicians. In many ways, the AFM is a step ahead on this issue, based on our involvement with SoundExchange and our AFM and SAG-AFTRA Fund, which were of great interest to FIM representatives.

For me, the Congress highlighted how small our world has become, how the values and hopes of musicians operating in a globalized music industry are interconnected, and most importantly, how we can benefit from hearing each others’ stories and strategizing together about our common concerns. Given our newly elected leadership in the body of FIM, the AFM will not only continue, but also increase its involvement on the world stage.