by Jay Blumenthal, AFM International Secretary-Treasurer
It is an honor and privilege to have been elected to serve as your AFM International Secretary-Treasurer. Over the years I have come to know many of you through my attendance at conventions, conferences, and various negotiations. In my new role as secretary-treasurer, I look forward to developing new relationships with those of you I do not know and building on my relationships with those of you I do know.
As director of the Symphonic Services Division, I have worked closely with AFM President Ray Hair and the members of the International Executive Board. Having attended IEB meetings over the past five years, I’ve gained a good deal of familiarity with the way the IEB operates and the kinds of issues that come before it. This will allow me to “hit the ground running” at the upcoming IEB meeting in September.
As many of you know, the position of Secretary-Treasurer is a hands-on, nuts and bolts job. Put another way, it’s the lubrication that keeps all the various parts of the Federation working smoothly. This takes attention to detail, a physical presence in the office, and a dedicated AFM staff. And I can share with you from my firsthand knowledge, we could not ask for a better staff. They love this union! Many have worked at the AFM for years. Twenty, 30, and even 40 years of service is not uncommon.
In fact, it was not long ago that one of our staff members retired after more than 56 years of service to the AFM. This longevity is a testament to our dedicated, experienced staff and creates value-added for the membership because each staff member performs their duties well and works with great efficiency.
So what can you expect from your new secretary-treasurer and what are some of my goals for the AFM?
When you call me, I will make every effort to be responsive to your question(s) in a timely fashion. Even though I have the benefit of 18 years of union experience (working as a Local 802 officer, executive board member, and Federation employee), I may not have an immediate answer for you. But if I don’t, I know where to find out and I’ll get back to you quickly.
When local officers have questions for the secretary-treasurer, often the answers they receive can have significant ramifications for their locals and the answer to a member’s question may well impact that member’s career. I take all these questions seriously.
I have always been cognizant of the fact that every dollar we receive at the Federation is attributable in some way to the work performed by our members. Each dollar is important and needs to be spent in a way that improves the lives and protects the livelihoods of our members. Much has been accomplished during the last six years to improve the Federation’s financial condition. But expenses can get out of hand quickly, unless one maintains a constant vigilance. Allowing the Federation to slide back into tenuous financial territory will not be an option.
Continuing to “cash up” the Relocation Fund is a high priority. Growing this fund will eventually allow us to move forward with the purchase of office space rather than continued renting. We will carefully search for the right opportunity to own our office space.
So I look forward to working together with AFM President Hair, the IEB, local officers, and the entire membership in our effort to build an even stronger, unified, and more powerful Federation.