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 25, 2015IM -
by Tom Mendel, TMA President and Member of AFM Local 10-208 (Chicago, IL)
Theatre Musicians Association (TMA) has been quite busy in the past year. I can think of no better way to demonstrate this than by writing about what the Executive Board and volunteer committees have been up to in the TMA’s year review.
The TMA Executive Board asked our Legislative Committee (chaired by Local 802 Vice President Walter Usiatynski) to review the bylaws and make recommendations. Our parliamentarian, Paul Castillo, (also on the Legislative Committee) felt that the bylaws were due for a restructure after many years of amendments. Castillo and Usiatynski led the charge with the committee. They submitted an amazing document. The Executive Board approved it and the restructure was passed unanimously at the 2014 conference. (I feel this document is truly a work of art, similar to a great composition or solo.)
As with any organization, it is very important to have materials that assist and train current and future officers. Our board is focusing on this. Among the aids that we have developed:
TMA Officers Toolbox—This is in a password-protected section of our website. It is available to, not only the TMA Executive Board, but to all chapter officers as well. Included in the TMA Officers Toolbox are:
We are considering creating video training tools and have recently formed the TMA Officers and Members Video Training Committee.
Chapter & Membership Recruitment Committee—TMA has added four new chapters in the past four years. This committee is charged with identifying and assisting the formation of future chapters.
Membership-at-Large Organizing Committee—All TMA members have direct representation with the exception of the members-at-large. This is because they have no internal chapter structure with which to hold elections. TMA is currently in the process of assisting these members in electing a director and is encouraging them to form a chapter, should they so choose.
TMA Marketing and PR Committee—This committee is working towards increasing awareness of the Theatre Musicians Association. Check out our Facebook page: “Theatre Musicians Association – TMA” and “Like” us. We update this page regularly with interesting articles and photos.
We’ve also put up a Facebook page for traveling musicians: “TMA Traveler’s Forum.” It is a closed page for traveling musicians only. This format enables them to talk freely among themselves and discuss such things as lodging, great restaurants, etc.
Future of TMA Committee—This committee is tasked with establishing a vision for TMA going forward.
Theatrical Orchestrations Committee—TMA has been an advocate to keep original orchestrations available for theaters that would like to produce shows with them. This committee was recently formed to research, explore, and make recommendations to the TMA Executive Board regarding current practices and trends in theatrical orchestration editions that are available for rental.
Pamphlet B Committee—The Pamphlet B Committee is already interviewing traveling musicians and preparing for the upcoming negotiations. The current contract expires March 2016.
TMA’s Theatre Contract Data Repository became “active” on the TMA website last year. It is a collection of data formatted to compare important aspects of theatre CBA’s from many locals in the AFM. We feel that this is an invaluable tool to assist preparation for contract negotiations. In addition to TMA officers, it is also available to AFM officers.
We encourage all AFM locals with CBAs for theatre to send their contract information to TMA Secretary-Treasurer Mark Pinto. He will update the Theatre Contract Data Repository as new contracts come in.
As with last year, we are making a concerted effort to have TMA representatives attend all AFM Conferences this year, including local and player conferences.
Speaking of conferences, TMA will hold its 20th Annual Conference in San Francisco, August 17-18. Among the guest speakers for this historic event will be members of the original Steering Committee that helped form the TMA. Full TMA Conference details will be released in the Pit Bulletin and on the TMA