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.
March 6, 2019Jay Blumenthal - AFM International Secretary-Treasurer
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.
This year, during the same time, we will move our New York City AFM office to the ninth floor (see the Secretary-Treasurer column in the November 2018 IM). This is no small move as the new space is being completely rebuilt to meet our needs. It involves juggling architects, engineers, construction contractors, furniture vendors, IT consultants, permit expediters, and of course, a moving company.
And the third event is the 2019 AFM Convention in June. Much of the convention preparation starts now, so things are rather busy here at the AFM.
Those of you who attended the last AFM Convention (2016) may remember the well-received keynote speech given by Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director Allison Beck. Beck had been appointed to that position by former President Obama and confirmed by the US Senate. After the election of President Trump, Beck was not reappointed. Since last October, she has been working as Mid-Atlantic counsel for the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA). AGMA represents choristers, dancers, soloists, stage managers, and choreographers.
Recently, AFM Local 161-710 (Washington, DC) President Ed Malaga and I attended a meeting with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 22 (Washington, DC) President I. Chuck Clay and Beck to further build relationships and foster solidarity as our unions enter collective bargaining negotiations. Building relationships and improving communications between other arts and entertainment unions helps to make all of our unions stronger.
The passing of former AFM International Vice President and former Local 257 (Nashville, TN) President Harold Bradley marks the end of an era during which his immense talent helped to change the music industry and the lives of union musicians everywhere. An AFM member for 76 years, Bradley is considered by many to be the most recorded guitarist ever. He worked with iconic artists such as Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn of Local 257, Tammy Wynette, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Connie Francis, Buddy Holly, Conway Twitty, Ray Price, Brenda Lee, The Everly Brothers, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan of Local 802 (New York City), and many more.
Some of the classic recordings on which he performed are “Crazy” and “I Fall to Pieces” (Cline), “Stand by Your Man” (Wynette), “King of the Road” (Roger Miller), “Coal Miner’s Daughter” (Lynn), “Holly Jolly Christmas” (Burl Ives), “Jingle Bell Rock” (Bobby Helms), “Crying” and “Only the Lonely” (Orbison), “Make the World Go Away” (Eddy Arnold), “Big Bad John” (Jimmy Dean), “I’m Sorry” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” (Lee), “Harper Valley PTA” (Jeannie C. Riley), and “Do the Hokey Pokey” (Ray Anthony).
Local 257 President for 18 years and AFM International Vice President for just over 10 years, Bradley participated in numerous negotiations for major AFM agreements (Sound Recording Labor Agreement, TV Videotape, Basic Theatrical Motion Picture, and the Television Film Labor Agreement). He also testified before Congress about copyrights and intellectual property rights. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006. For more on Bradley, see the article on page 8 by current Local 257 President and AFM International Executive Board member Dave Pomeroy.