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 » Unions and Industry Tell Congress to Fix Unemployment Programs for Entertainment Workers


Unions and Industry Tell Congress to Fix Unemployment Programs for Entertainment Workers

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The AFM last month joined with other entertainment unions and music industry organizations in highlighting the ways that the CARES Act has fallen short in assisting musicians and other entertainment workers. Leaders of nearly 50 organizations signed a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) asking them to address the flaws in the legislation and offer remedies in a new CARES Act COVID relief package.

The organizations said in a joint statement: “While we appreciate the efforts of lawmakers to meet the challenges of this pandemic, we need to ensure that our community is getting the aid they need to survive. Musicians are struggling to access the basic financial resources available due to conflicting and burdensome requirements in relief programs. Simply, there is a hole in this safety net that Congress must fix in the next version of the CARES Act.”

In the letter, the coalition wrote:

“Given the unique nature of our industry, many in our profession work from project to project and gig to gig, not only in multiple jobs but in various capacities. As a result, creators often find themselves working as employees receiving W-2 wages and as independent contractors (or otherwise self-employed) receiving 1099 income for performances, royalties, and other services. Unfortunately, implementation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA) has overlooked workers with mixed income.

“In almost all cases that we see in every state, a minimum amount of W-2 income disqualifies a self-employed individual for PUA and significantly lowers the amount of assistance they receive. PUA must be updated to recognize these different income streams and allow individuals to show their mixed sources of revenue for a full accounting of their annual income.

“In addition, those who work on location or perform on tour earn freelance income in multiple states, some of which does not come with a 1099. While some state agencies allow for this type of reporting, some do not. Congress’s intent is that such workers should be fully eligible for at least the minimum PUA amount, but state implementation does not fully reflect this intention. PUA must be updated to recognize these unique circumstances.”

The letter also describes concerns about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program that were included in the first CARES Act, and states that the entertainment industry will continue to need government assistance once venue doors reopen.

“There is no sugar-coating this: the entertainment industry has been decimated,” the letter concludes. “We trade in imagination, but the reality of our situation is dire. Today, we eagerly share our craft when we can—through video streams, on social media, or from apartment balconies. But it is not a viable ‘work from home’ solution and it will not sustain us. We need help that only you can provide, in a way that recognizes the particulars of our industry.”

The organizations who signed the letter in addition to the AFM included the Academy of Country Music (ACM), American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), Country Music Association (CMA), National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), the Recording Academy, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Screen Actors Guild-the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), the Songwriters Guild of America, the Songwriters of North America (SONA), SoundExchange, and more.







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