Tag Archives: tempo

Convention Delegates Smash TEMPO Record

During the 101st AFM Convention in Las Vegas, delegates rallied around our legislative-political efforts in Washington, DC, to show their support for the TEMPO (Taskforce for Employment of Musicians Promotional Organization) fund, which has long played a critical role expanding our voice in Congress. Based on the number of critical issues the president’s office and the AFM Government Relations Office handles weekly, as well as on recent successes in copyright and arts funding areas, delegates recognized the importance of helping our friends on Capitol Hill remain in office. With a view toward the future, many more issues will require our constant attention requiring face-to-face discussions with any number of members of Congress. 

Alfonso Pollard, AFM Legislative, Political, and Diversity Director (left) thanks Local 9-535 (Boston, MA) President Patrick Hollenbeck at the AFM Convention for his personal $1,100 donation to TEMPO. Photo: Chiemi McGhie

As we review the modest fund increase from the beginning of 2019, the AFM Convention has long been the gathering where union leadership shines. However, after an overview by President Hair of past and future issues, delegates took it upon themselves to renew their commitment by contributing over $10,000 to the fund through TEMPO merchandise sales, which were led by Local 400 President and TEMPO Committee Chair Candace Lammers. Delegates also made an extraordinary commitment to our AFM Leadership Program Signature Fund, which gained more than 30 new members.

However, one of the most telling shows of support for the TEMPO Program came about with the donation of a personal check for $1,100 from Local 9-535 (Boston, MA) President Patrick Hollenbeck, who challenged convention delegates to take up the cause for the sake of our pension lobbying efforts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and for a performance right in terrestrial radio. President Hair, in fact, immediately took up that challenge and donated $1,000 himself.

These issues, along with others such as cross-border immigration, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) international travel issues, and more, sounded the political clarion and the delegates’ rush to the union’s support. Our success at the convention was unprecedented, and I want to thank all the delegates for their support of our political program.

Members of the TEMPO Committee at the TEMPO merchandise table, which raised over $10,000 during the 101st convention. Pictured from left: Back row—Candace Lammers, Chair, Local 400; David Gibbs, Local 25; Chris School, Local 25; Paul Wesley Lott, Local 447-704; Deborah Dansby Wells, Local 389; Alan Rickmeier, Local 325. Front Row—Carol Dunevant, Local 1; Bonnie Janofsky, Local 47; Lois Pfister, Local 380; Laurence Hofmann, AFM staff. Sandra Grier, TEMPO coordinator, not pictured. Photo: Chiemi McGhie

TEMPO: One of the AFM’s Most Effective Advocacy Tools

The Taskforce for Employment of Musicians Promotional Organization (TEMPO) was established in 1961 when the AFM was steeped in legislative battles over copyright, the Cabaret Tax, and royalty distribution, which followed prior legislative battles over the LEA Act, the National Labor Relations Act, and a host of other federal legislative initiatives. The need to help AFM-friendly federal legislators stay in Washington, DC, to continue the fight on behalf of professional musicians remains essential to our existence. TEMPO is one of the most recognized and highly respected bipartisan labor affiliated political action committees in Washington, DC. Because of the relevant successes that the AFM Office of Government Relations and the fund have accomplished, these important internal institutions have served to provide high quality, added value to your AFM membership.

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Local 161-710: It’s Not Just About the Funds, Create a Culture of Advocacy


Local 161-710 TEMPO Signature Members (L to R) Board Member Doug Rosenthal, Vice President Patty Hurd, Board Member Ann Ament, Secretary-Treasurer Marta Bradley, Leslie Silverfine, and President Ed Malaga.

In 2014, the AFM Office of Government Relations helped double the AFM TEMPO bottom line. Measures such as a new TEMPO compliance manual for locals and a TEMPO Signature Program yielded added income. Local 161-710 (Washington, DC) raised the most money in TEMPO contributions, and has the highest number of Signature members.

“The membership of Local 161-710 boasts so much intellect and activism, I believe the biggest source of success is the long-standing culture of advocacy and awareness here,” says Douglas Rosenthal who is Local 161-710 TEMPO Coordinator, as well as a member of the local’s executive board.

As TEMPO coordinator, he promotes TEMPO in his local and to fellow musicians at the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, where he plays trombone. However, he says, “I’m not sure these things had much to do with our turnout. The members here are already so committed.”

AFM members that he’s come into contact with conclude that TEMPO is the best PAC to advocate on behalf of musicians. “The TEMPO program provides the opportunity for our elected representatives to hear directly from AFM musicians on issues important to them,” says Local 161-710 President Edgardo Malaga. “It certainly is a goal of our local’s administration to provide increased visibility for AFM issues on Capitol Hill. The support here for that effort is very broad-based, not only with orchestra musicians, but also club musicians in the area.”

It doesn’t seem surprising that the local closest to the nation’s capital would be the most politically active, however, Rosenthal believes that the local’s commitment to TEMPO is more a result of the musicians themselves. “Politics are certainly in the air here, but I’m not sure it’s our proximity to the Federal government that gives us an edge; our membership is saturated with brilliant minds and effective advocates. Together, we would be equally successful anywhere else,” he says.

Key to a successful campaign, according to Rosenthal, is to not just ask for annual donations, but for TEMPO coordinators to create a culture of political advocacy in their locals. “Make TEMPO part of a broader picture of advocacy and activism,” he advises.

“Aside from TEMPO contributions, our local’s members are proud to lend a presence to AFM efforts on Capitol Hill for things such as performance rights, NEA funding, the African ivory elephant issue, and musical instruments as carry-on baggage,” says Malaga.