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.
May 6, 2020Jay Blumenthal - AFM International Secretary-Treasurer
Without question, the COVID-19 crisis has created the most serious challenge to AFM members in our 124-year history. Essentially, live music has temporarily ceased due to social distancing and shelter-in-place rules. As a union, we have been working tirelessly to help mitigate the myriad of challenges we face today. We have had success in Washington, DC making sure our advocacy for musicians produces real results. The coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency provisions expand unemployment insurance to include “gig workers” and freelance musicians in addition to W-2 and 1099 employment. There are supplemental payouts up to $600 in addition to the state benefit. Also, there is extended benefit coverage up to an additional 13 weeks and a waiver of the one-week waiting period before collecting your benefit.
As you know by now, all AFM offices are temporarily closed due to governmental directives and our desire to protect the health and safety of AFM members and staff. Most AFM staffers are working remotely and are able to respond to questions by email. An email address list of AFM staff can be found by way of a link on the AFM.org website homepage.
The AFM 2019 Annual Report will soon be available on the AFM.org website for review and download. I will have an email blast sent to members as soon as it is ready to view. After it is posted, go to the Document Library/Financial Documents and Annual Report folder and look for the 2019 Annual Report. In the past, the AFM annual report has been printed, however, the delegates to the 2019 AFM Convention voted to print the annual report only in convention years. This represents a savings of the cost for printing, shipping, and mailing in two of the three years between conventions.
The 2019 Annual Report includes the international president, vice president from Canada, and secretary-treasurer’s officer reports, as well as reports from several AFM staff members. It also contains the recently audited 2019 financial statements and the International Executive Board 2019 meeting minutes. If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call.
As of this writing, there have been some changes to the AFM regional conference schedule. The Eastern Conference has been rescheduled to take place April 17 through 18, 2021 in King of Prussia, PA. The Locals’ Conferences Council/Player Conferences Council (LCC/PCC) meeting has been rescheduled to take place October 17 through 18, 2020 in Las Vegas, NV (Westgate Hotel). The Canadian Conference has been postponed, with new dates to be announced. Future date changes will be posted on
AFM.org. Click on the Document Library tab and then the Conferences folder.
The AFM bylaws books and List of Locals booklets were mailed to all local affiliates. The French language AFM bylaws were mailed to the appropriate Canadian locals. If your local has not received your copies, please let us know by emailing a message to the AFM Secretary-Treasurer’s Office.
For those locals that have a calendar fiscal year (January 1 through December 31), your LM report should have been uploaded to the Department of Labor site. The deadline was 90 days from the close of your fiscal year (This year March 30 was the due date—2020 being a leap year). Your latest local constitution and bylaws should have been uploaded as well.
The annual AFM audit is well underway. While it appears we will have a surplus for 2019, there are many unknowns for 2020. The coronavirus (COVID-19) governmental directives are having a severe economic impact on musicians, locals, and the Federation. In anticipation of the economic fallout, we are monitoring our affected revenue streams and doing our best to manage expenses. We will remain vigilant during these challenging times.
We wish continued good health for all AFM members. Be smart—stay safe, wash hands frequently, practice social distancing, and use good sense if you must leave your home.