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.

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Home » Recent News » The Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds Stands United with IATSE Local One Stagehands in Metropolitan Opera Lockout


The Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds Stands United with IATSE Local One Stagehands in Metropolitan Opera Lockout

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In response to the lockout by the Metropolitan Opera against Local One stagehands, members of the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds (COBUG) issued the following statement on December 9: 

As an affiliate of the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds (COBUG), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local One stagehands do not stand alone in the lockout by the Metropolitan Opera. All of the affiliates—many of whom are facing the same draconian, long term wage and condition cuts from the Met Opera management—stand united with our sisters, brothers, and kin in Local One. 

While workers are furloughed and waiting for live performances to safely return, the Metropolitan Opera has conditioned limited supplemental financial assistance on the unconscionable demand that workers accept 30% cuts in wages and less favorable working conditions, all of which would last well past the COVID pandemic and the return of live performances. In addition, stagehands were told they must accept this “deal” or be locked out of their employment, despite already being furloughed and unemployed. 

New Yorkers pride ourselves on coming together in any crisis to help one another for the greater good. Stagehands are no different. As the COVID pandemic has brought live performances to a halt, we have seen stagehands use their skills to volunteer to help the greater NYC community. They are volunteering by building face shields for medical workers, assisting in making facemasks and PPE, and helping Encore Community Services to provide food assistance for those living in Hell’s Kitchen and the Theater District. All of this has been happening while these same members of the theatrical community face a lack of work, uncertainty about when work will return, unemployment assistance expiring, food insecurities, concerns about housing, and seeing friends, coworkers, and loved ones get ill or sadly succumb to the COVID virus. 

Sadly, in contrast with the civic spirit of a resilient NYC and its people, the Metropolitan Opera is using this pandemic to its own benefit to lower worker pay and eliminate conditions at work for perpetuity under the guise of short-term financial assistance that may not even last until performances can once again reopen. 

COBUG’s members understand and see the choice Local One stagehands are faced with and will stand together with them. To borrow a phrase from the NYC stagehands—“We are all One!” 

In Solidarity, 

  • Actors’ Equity Association
  • American Federation of Musicians, AFM
  • American Guild of Musical Artists
  • Association of Theatrical Press Agents & Managers, IATSE, Local 18032
  • Dramatists Guild of America
  • The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. AFL-CIO, CLC
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 817
  • International Union of Operating Engineers. Local 30
  • Local 802 American Federation of Musicians, AFL-CIO
  • Mail Telephone Order Clerks, IATSE, Local B-751
  • Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists, IATSE, Local 798
  • Service Employees International Union, Local 32BJ
  • Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, SDC
  • Theatrical Protective Union, IATSE, Local One
  • Theatrical Wardrobe Union, Local 764, IATSE
  • Treasurers and Ticket Sellers Union. IATSE. Local 751
  • United Scenic Artists, IATSE, Local USA 829
  • Ushers, Ticket Takers & Stagedoor Persons, IATSE, Local 306






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