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


Home » Officer Columns » Secretary-Treasurer » Union Benefits: More than Just CBAs

Union Benefits: More than Just CBAs

  -  former AFM International Secretary-Treasurer

While a prime reason to belong to the union is collective bargaining agreements, there are a number of other advantages to belonging and participating in union benefits. Annually, I review some of the programs available to our members. The AFM is part of the Union Plus, Liberty Mutual, and Mercer programs.

The Union Plus Credit Card is a competitive card with 6,000 AFM members and a total of $13 million current balance. There are currently 600 closed mortgages for a total of $118 million and an average of $200,000 per closing. There was more than $350,000 in saved fees. AFM members have purchased 70 auto insurance policies.

AFL-CIO has 37,000 members participating in health savings accounts; 654,000  members participating in legal services (start date 1987); 4,500 members in Save My Home Counseling sessions; and can you believe, union members have saved more than
$3 million in flower purchases since the program started?

Union Plus has car rental, auto purchasing power, a motor club, and pet insurance. There have been 1,700 pet insurance policies—a very popular item for union members. Home heating oil discounts are more than $2 million saved and 9,000 union members have participated.

There are 2,600 retiree medical plans and AT&T wireless savings are more than
$13 million for the 256,596 participants.

Mercer instrument insurance had more than 500 new AFM policies in 2013 and a total of 3,500 policies—a very popular program.Leaders, contractors, and musicians have found the need for liability policies. Mercer, through the AFM, has a total of 427 such policies, a growing program. Liberty Mutual has written 180 new auto policies in 2013 for a savings of more than $40,000.

The Affordable Care Act, implemented January 1, has caused a number of questions and concerns. With the AFM option, you can call to discuss the costs, benefits, and pick a plan that best suits your needs. When you are looking for solid health insurance for your family, costs and benefits can vary widely, and it’s hard to know whom to trust for the best coverage, at the best possible rate. You’ll receive a list of highly qualified medical providers and facilities from which to choose.

To compare health care plans and obtain a free, no obligation quote, visit or call 1-877-886-0110. Or, for a free brochure, you can e-mail Member Benefits Liaison Nadine Sylvester at To take advantage of all of the programs mentioned here you can visit or contact Member Benefits Liaison Nadine Sylvester.

On another topic, I would like to introduce a guest editorial from a dear friend and AFM member, Paul Williams. Together we have participated in a number of charity events and we have had lots of great times together.

Between Paul’s day job as president of ASCAP, speaking on behalf of Daft Punk at the Grammys (he co-wrote on their Album of the Year win) and now primetime cameos (in a Breaking Bad parody on the NBC show Community, Paul appears as a black market textbook dealer), it’s hard to keep up with where he’ll appear next. Well, he appears here!

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