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.
November 1, 2022IM -
by George Fiddler, AFM Director of Touring/Theatre/Booking Division and Assistant to the President
This month’s Theater issue features a cover story about Julie Ferrara of Local 802 (New York City), reed player on the current Frozen tour and steward for its 11-member orchestra. She has been involved with Broadway productions for many years and decided to try touring for the two-year Disney production. I am sure you will find her reflections on this venture to be interesting and informative.
Also featured in this issue, on the facing page, is Kristy Norter of Local 802 (New York City). Kristy has been involved in the Broadway scene for many years as a reed player and contractor. This year Norter is contracting both the Aragon and Boleyn Pamphlet B tours of SIX.
During the 2021-2022 season, the Touring/Theatre/Booking Division saw 22 Pamphlet B shows on the roster. As is typical, during the summer, many shows concluded their season and closed, while others continued for the next season. At this writing, 11 shows have closed, or will close shortly. Another 11 shows will continue for the 2022-2023 season.
Looking ahead, there are at least seven shows going out soon. Each of these new productions has significant numbers of touring musicians and local hires. There are many new and a few old remounts, such as Les Misérables, which is coming out of mothballs to tour for two seasons.
In early May, the AFM and the Broadway League reached an agreement to seamlessly extend their current agreement from April 25, 2022 to August 27, 2023. The terms of the extension were ratified by the bargaining unit May 18, 2022. The employers offered a 3% across the board wage increase, which includes all wage-related pay components (doubles, electronic fees, media fees, etc.). The balance of the Pamphlet B and SET agreement stays intact as the extension agreement was not a negotiation but an offer to continue the agreement “as is” through next show season.
The Actors’ Equity Association contract is also on extension. As in the past, the League is set to negotiate a new agreement next year with Equity first, and our negotiations will follow. The advantage to the AFM is that we now have time to plan and develop a campaign to zero in on what the bargaining unit wants and can realistically achieve in the subsequent agreement.
We are currently negotiating a new Health and Safety Manual that addresses COVID-related issues and policies for touring shows. The current situation dictates the need for an updated agreement with the League. We have learned a lot since last year when the original manual was devised.
The pay for musicians who cover emergency situations regarding COVID absences is undecided. Many musicians have been enlisted to cover key parts under emergency situations. These parts facilitate the show’s viability, and if not covered, could sometimes lead to show cancellation. Once the pay for these subbing musicians has been negotiated, the Health and Safety Manual will be put up for ratification by members in the bargaining unit.