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.
May 1, 2022IM -
by Heather Boehm, Theatre Musicians Association President and Member of Local 10-208 (Chicago, IL)
As of spring 2022, musical theater is at a crossroads. As we emerge from the shutdown and extensions put in place over the last few years, dedicated musicians and local officers throughout the Federation are in the process of bargaining nearly every regional, Broadway, touring, and local theater agreement. In this moment of uncertainty, there is an unprecedented opportunity for pattern bargaining.
Two approaches to local and regional theater have emerged dominant across the AFM with bargaining committee musicians carefully deliberating between negotiating successor agreements and short-term extensions with significant pay increases.
The Pamphlet B and Short Engagement Tours (SET) bargaining unit ratified an extension agreement in September 2021 that runs through April 24, 2022. Theater Musicians Association (TMA) attended a zoom meeting on April 13 with the union stewards from each production, AFM Touring/Theatre/Booking Division Director George Fiddler, and AFM Organizing & Education Division Director Michael Manley. Frequent testing, safety protocols, and a seemingly indomitable spirit have helped theater musicians navigate the slings and arrows of new variants, shutdowns, and reopenings over the last few months, while we eagerly anticipate a more consistent future and a firmer footing in our work lives.
TMA is thrilled to welcome Olivia Hamilton to our board of directors with the formation of our newest chapter: Pacific Northwest. The Pacific Northwest chapter will host musicians from AFM Locals 76-493 (Seattle, WA), 99 (Portland, OR), 105 (Spokane, WA), and 689 (Eugene, OR). We are likely to gain another regional chapter in Wisconsin in the next few weeks. Getting to know the engaging, dedicated, and creative musicians in these communities over the last few months has been extremely inspiring.
The dedicated efforts of TMA chapter directors and executive board increased renewing and new TMA members by 6.5% since March 1, with an overall membership gain of 18% since August 2021. Out of solidarity, many TMA memberships were extended throughout the shutdown.
In January, TMA debuted its first New Member Orientation and presented two well-attended roundtables on the latest electronic replacement/emulation technology that is displacing musicians throughout the Federation.
We are grateful to the many musicians who attended and thank AFM Executive Board Member and Local 161-710 (Washington, DC) President Ed Malaga, TMA DC/Baltimore Chapter President Patrick Plunk of Locals 161-710 and 40-543 (Baltimore, MD), Local 77 (Philadelphia, PA) President Ellen Trainor and Vice-President Marj Goldberg, TMA Vice President Bob Suttman of Locals 77 and 802 (New York City), and TMA Philadelphia Chapter Director Sue Lerner of Local 77 for their support and facilitation of these meetings.
We look forward to upcoming presentations for Local 10-208 (Chicago, IL) and at the Eastern Conference of Locals. Shrinking orchestrations and job loss due to electronic replacement are an important rallying point of unity and solidarity among all local and touring musicians.
Mike Dotterer of Local 77 and Stephen Green of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) have been hard at work updating the TMA website, the contract data repository, and creating a streamlined and secure experience to our Members Only and external pages. We will be hosting a virtual annual conference this summer and look forward to an in-person gathering in 2023.
TMA remains firmly grounded in our mission:
1) To promote the respective interest of theater orchestras and their member musicians, both full-time and part-time, both local and traveling.
2) To enhance communication among these theater orchestras and their locals.
3) To exchange information and address problems of mutual concern.
4) To pursue other activities conducive to the general welfare of its members in accordance with the Bylaws of the AFM.
We welcome all AFM members to join our dynamic community of musicians who are passionate about protecting jobs, staying informed, and upholding the quality of musical theater. To find out more, visit our website: www.afm-tma.org.
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