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.

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Home » Recent News » Union Membership Rises Nationwide in 2020


Union Membership Rises Nationwide in 2020

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New research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that union membership increased in the US in 2020. According to BLS data, union membership rose to 10.8% in 2020, up .5% from 2019.

While the total number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions (14.3 million) was down by 321,000, or 2.2%, from 2019, the decline in total wage and salary worker employment in the US was mostly among non-union workers. “The disproportionately large decline in total wage and salary employment compared with the decline in the number of union members led to an increase in the union membership rate,” according to the report.

Some highlights from the report include:

  • The median usual weekly earnings of union members was $1,144 in 2020—16% higher than median weekly wages earned by non-union laborers ($958).
  • The rate of union membership in the public sector, at 34.8%, remained five times higher than the private sector’s rate of 6.3%. Rates in both sectors increased as a result of decline in total employment, which affected non-union workers the most.
  • Protective service occupations had the largest unionization rates with 36.6%. Education, training and library occupations followed with a rate of 35.9%. Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations had the lowest rate at 2.6%, followed by sales and related occupations at 3.2%.
  • Black workers continued to have the highest union membership rate by ethnicity, with a rate of 12.3%. White workers followed at 10.7%, Hispanic workers at 9.8%, and Asian workers at 8.9%.
  • The union membership rate for women rose by .8% to 10.5%, nearing the rate for men (11%). Regardless of gender, workers aged 45-64 continued to have the highest union membership rate at 13.2%.
  • Thirty states fall below the US average union membership rate of 10.8%. Hawaii and New York have the highest rates, at 23.7% and 22.0% respectively, while nine states had rates below 5%.

To read the complete report, visit www.bls.gov.







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