Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.
As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.
The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.
Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit www.afm.org/join.
February 1, 2014Alfonso Pollard - AFM Legislative, Political, and Diversity Director
In January, the AFM marked the national roll out of TEMPO: The New Campaign. Over the past six months, the AFM Office of Government Relations under the guidance of AFM President Ray Hair has introduced Federation officers and locals to a new tool designed to give greater political leverage to our members. The Office of Government Relations has developed a Political Action Committee (PAC) program that will foster a greater sense of value, identity, and purpose. The new campaign shares this fresh vision with the national and state political community, while putting in place the levels of operational security, reporting accountability, and consistency required by the program. Please stay tuned for exciting new ways to participate.
Hair has appointed Local 94 (Tulsa, OK) Secretary-Treasurer Tammy Kirk as National TEMPO Chair. For more than 31 years, Kirk has been a union leader, and she was the first female IEB member. Her commitment to new and innovative programs in organizing and recruitment, diversity, and local AFM outreach will help propel our new effort. Kirk is a goal-oriented leader who understands the need to be a responsible fiduciary of our members’ resources. We can count on her to help us effectively achieve our goals. Kirk will work closely with Hair, AFM Secretary-Treasurer Sam Folio, and other union staff and officers to help build a respectable TEMPO Fund that is second to none. You can look forward to hearing from her soon.
In other news, Congress passed the Omnibus Appropriations Bill for 2014 with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) funded at $146 million. AFM member letters to Congress helped make the difference!
On January 16, the US Senate completed its work on a massive $1.1 trillion government spending bill. This deal sets funding at 2013 levels and helps ensure that NEA will be able to make significant contributions to the national arts structure.
When the agency budget was threatened, AFM members used modern digital media to get the word to Capitol Hill: “Federal arts funding in America counts!” The AFM NEA letter writing campaign generated 1,004 actions, sending 2,982 messages to 386 legislators. There were 156 distinctly composed letters sent, with some members taking action more than once. The campaign underscored AFM members’ commitment to public funding for arts programs that impact our industry in virtually every community in the country.
As a result of your efforts, with the steadfast leadership of supportive members in the House and Senate, and many others in the arts community, Congress was dissuaded from making draconian cuts. Those cuts would have had a negative impact on important community programs in jazz, folk, and classical music, along with a range of innovative programs that are transforming the standard of living in American communities of every cultural persuasion. This is a real victory for our members and for the national cultural landscape in America.
On January 17, President Barack Obama signed this spending bill into law. The overall purpose of the appropriations bill is to fund the federal government through the end of this fiscal year, September 30, 2014. We say a hearty thank you to all members who participated in the write-in campaign. Your selfless efforts underscore the definition of solidarity.