Tag Archives: secretary treasurer

emergency relief legislation

We are Working to Pass Emergency Relief Legislation for Creative Professionals

We have been working closely with the AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees Arts, Entertainment and Media Industry unions to advocate for musicians and other creative professionals urging Congress to pass emergency relief legislation. Please see the March 20 press release below:

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emergency relief fund

Hurricane Season Is Upon Us

Now that we are well into hurricane season, I wanted to inform the membership about AFM Recommendation No. 2 that was adopted at the recent AFM Convention. I bring your attention to the italicized portion below, which is the new language that amends Article 5, Section 47(a) of the AFM bylaws:

“SECTION 47(a). Each Local shall pay to the AFM Per Capita Dues at the rate of $66 per annum for each Regular, Student and Youth member and $50 per annum for each Life member in good standing with the Local. Federation Per Capita Dues shall include the subscription fee of $2 for the Official Journal, a contribution of 10 cents to the Lester Petrillo Memorial Fund as required to maintain the Fund at a balance of no less than $500,000, and a contribution of 10 cents to the AFM Emergency Relief Fund as required to maintain the Fund at a balance of $100,000.”

This additional language will help fund the AFM Emergency Relief Fund, allowing the AFM to provide assistance not only for hurricanes, but for earthquakes, tornadoes, and wildfires as well. There are criteria that must be met in order to be considered for financial assistance:

  • You must currently be a member in good standing of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada as well as a member in good standing at the time of the loss;
  • You must have resided in, or been employed as a professional musician in, a county affected by an emergency or major disaster proclamation (examples: wildfire, tornado), by a governor or the president (in the case of Canada, a provincial state of emergency declaration) prior to and during the occurrence of the circumstances giving rise to such proclamation;
  • You must have suffered one of the hardships (described in the application) as a result of the disaster that is not reimbursable by insurance.

As we begin to experience the very real effects of climate change, we are seeing very large and severe storms on a regular basis that were once referred to as “once in a lifetime” or “storm of the century” events. The recent Category 5 hurricane Dorian tore its way through the Bahamas leaving a devastating path of destruction and then made its way up the eastern seaboard. The destruction was sobering to say the least. I urge our members to heed the warnings to evacuate if you ever find yourself in the path of one of these monsters. Nothing is worth saving more than your life and the lives of your loved ones, so please stay out of harm’s way.

If you experience an uninsured catastrophic loss due to one of these natural disasters and meet the criteria on the application to be considered for AFM assistance, please visit the homepage of the AFM website and scroll down to Emergency Assistance.

jay blumenthal

Division in a Union Is Like Kryptonite

It’s a challenge writing this month’s column since it is being written before the AFM Convention and published after the convention. Having attended many AFM conventions, I’ve learned that much can happen. There are often several unanticipated twists, turns, and unexpected issues that come before the delegates. This is all part of the democratic process. At times it can get quite messy, but ultimately it’s a very healthy process for our union.

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2019 AFM 101st Convention Coming Soon!

The 2019 AFM 101st Convention will be held at the Westgate Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. Registration will begin Sunday, June 16, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and continue on Monday, June 17, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. preceding the opening of the convention. Once registered, AFM delegates will receive a convention bag with a printed copy of the 2018 AFM Annual Report (which includes the audited financials), the printed AFM 101st Convention Recommendations and Resolutions book, a printed AFM 101st Convention Book and a list of names and addresses of establishments in Las Vegas using live union music (provided by Local 369). In addition, the bag will include a thumb drive containing electronic copies of the 2018 Annual Report, 101st Convention Recommendations and Resolutions book, 2019 List of Locals, 2019 Local Officer Resource Guide, 2016 AFM Bylaws, and the previous Official Proceedings. The bag will also contain various convention souvenirs.

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jay blumenthal

We’re In!

The long-awaited move to our new office space happened April 1. The construction timeline to build out the new space was very tight, so things went right down to the wire, which created plenty of angst and nail biting. The AFM International Executive Board (IEB) meeting scheduled for April 2 was the first official meeting in the new space. While the vast majority of the construction work was completed, some work continued into the next month. The “punch list” (things needing further attention to make sure everything is working properly) will be addressed during April/May.

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jay blumenthal

New Directive from USCIS

The AFM (along with other unions) plays an important role in the nonimmigrant visa application process for foreign artists desiring to enter the US temporarily to perform and tour. Each application for an O or P visa must include a consultation letter generally provided by a labor union. There are times a union may find the applicant does not meet the criteria necessary to provide a favorable consultation letter. Cases of fraudulent use of these letters have occurred where the union’s letterhead is copied, dates are changed, and even signatures are forged to acquire the needed visas.

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The Perfect Storm

In the first half of 2019 our New York Office is facing “the perfect storm.” A confluence of Federation events, culminating with our June AFM Convention, will be challenging to say the least.

During February and March we conduct the annual audit and submission of our Labor-Management report to the Department of Labor. While totally normal, this is always a busy time that puts our finance department into overdrive. 

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union election

Union Election Transitions

In the December 2016 issue of the International Musician, I devoted my column in part to union election transitions. It seems like a good time to revisit the topic. We think of December as the month that brings the year to a close and January as a month that sets the stage for new beginnings. Many union elections take place in December, and from time to time, new union officers are elected to take the reins of their local. On occasion, the election can be preceded by contentious campaigns that leave the outgoing officers feeling unappreciated.

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Looking Back on 2018 and Ready for an Exciting 2019

As 2018 comes to a close and we begin a new year, it’s an appropriate time to reflect on the past year and plan for what will be coming in 2019. All in all, 2018 was not as financially robust as 2017, but I am predicting the year will end with a comfortable surplus for the AFM. Of course, actual numbers will not be known until our auditors complete their work in April.

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hurricane relief

Hurricane Relief Extended to Hurricanes Florence and Michael

The AFM International Executive Board (IEB) has extended hurricane relief assistance to both Hurricanes Florence and Michael. If you were a member in good standing at the time of a loss as a result of a hurricane and continue to be a member in good standing, reside in a county FEMA has designated a major disaster area eligible for individual assistance, and incurred an uninsured loss as described in the Hurricane Relief Fund application, you may be eligible for assistance from the fund. Applications are available for download through the AFM website (AFM.org) under the Hurricane Relief “get help” link. After filling out an application, please follow the directions by submitting the application and all supporting documents to your local. If your local supports your application, they will forward the application and documents to the AFM for a determination. Any assistance will be made at the sole discretion of the AFM.

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