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


Home » Legislative Update » The 2014 Labor Notes Conference Educates and Energizes Worldwide Labor Activists

The 2014 Labor Notes Conference Educates and Energizes Worldwide Labor Activists


Labor Notes is a Detroit-based media and organizing project that has been the voice of union activists who want to “put the movement back in the labor movement” since 1979. Through their magazine, website, books, conferences, and workshops, they promote organizing, aggressive strategies to fight concessions, alliances with workers’ centers, and unions that are run by their members. They encourage connections between workers in different unions, workers centers, communities, industries, and countries to strengthen the movement. More information can be obtained at

AFM Local 24 (Akron, OH) Secretary-Treasurer and ROPA Conference Delegate Todd Jelen and I were fortunate to attend the 2014 Labor Notes Conference, held April 4-6 in suburban Chicago. Approximate 2,000 labor activists from all over the world gathered there to learn, connect, share, and re-energize from training specialists, speakers, labor educators, and their many colleagues. The international unions represented were from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, France, Hong Kong, India, Germany, Iran, Japan, Korea, Liberia, Mexico, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, as well as from all 50 US states.

There was such a huge menu of extremely valuable educational sessions offered that it was difficult to choose. I attended New Innovations in Social Media for Unions and Campaigns, Concessionary Bargaining, Advanced Bargaining Tactics, What Arbitrators Really Think, and Beating Apathy sessions, among others. The Social Media session was particularly intriguing as it outlined innovative methods for contract, organizing, and other labor campaigns that employ Facebook, Twitter, and combinations thereof.

We heard moving presentations from the Chicago Federation of Teachers, and from a panel of union activists from the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, who gave us the details of their heroic organizing campaign, and the serious challenges they faced from intrusion by Tennessee Senator Bob Corker and other politicians, and the strong anti-union environment in the region.

The point was made in several speeches that, if unions support important social justice activities, this will likely result in increased union membership because working people will more readily identify unions as organizations that care about people. Labor Notes bridges the gap between labor and social justice by featuring speakers and panelists from both arenas. Among others, we heard moving presentations by Ajamu Dillahunt from the Black Workers for Justice, the American Postal Workers Union, and the Moral Mondays of North Carolina, and Reyna Wences from the Immigrant Youth Justice League (the “undocumented and unafraid”) of Greater Chicago.

The issues we have in our AFM negotiations are the same as those of our sisters and brothers in other unions. We are all seeking fair wages and benefits, and good working conditions, whether bus drivers, nurses, teachers, airline pilots, or musicians. We have so much to learn and share with each other. Thus, it remains critical for AFM members to stay connected with our sisters and brothers in other unions nationwide and worldwide for solidarity, and for our mutual benefit.

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