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.
July 16, 2019IM -
by Robert Fraser, OCSM President and Member of Local 247 (Victoria, BC)
It’s that time of year again: as I write this, I’m looking ahead to all the conferences I will attend on behalf of the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM), and this year is a busy one. In addition to our own conference, which will be held from August 12-16 in Hamilton, ON (more information on our social media pages and at www.ocsm-omosc.org), I, or one of our executive board members, attend each of the other symphonic player conferences, the Theatre Musicians’ Association conference, the annual national meeting of Orchestras Canada, the AFM Canadian Conference, and this year, the AFM Convention, which will have already taken place by the time you read this. In the past, we have also participated in every International Orchestra Conference convened by the International Federation of Musicians (FIM). This summer will mark 20 years since I attended my first OCSM Conference and, since then, I have been privileged to be part of a truly worldwide network of musicians.
As I’ve reported many times on these pages, each of these conferences gives us an overview of our part of the industry: reports from delegates, union officers, and staff; pension fund; and other industry partners. We are fortunate to have experts in every part of our field address us: labour lawyers, communications professionals, and even government representatives. We try to work in as much of a local angle with our host city as possible. Hamilton happens to be the birthplace of music/performing arts medicine in Canada, with the establishment of the Musicians’ Clinics of Canada there in 1985, so we are inviting Dr. John Chong, its founder, to address us. We will also be making a field visit to LIVELab on the McMaster University campus, a facility devoted to “developing a world class facility for the scientific study of music, sound, and movement and their importance in human development and human health.” (https://livelab.mcmaster.ca).
I know I write this almost every time I’m given the opportunity, but there is a good reason why we’re called “player conferences”: because everything we do is driven by players—our membership of working orchestral musicians. That includes your successes as well as your challenges. If you’ve had a particularly good outreach program, or a successful fundraising campaign that made good use of musicians, we want to hear about it through your delegate. If something in your collective agreement went totally wrong, we want to help you rectify it. We exist so that no orchestra, no committee, and no individual musician need be in complete isolation. We are all part of a greater community and, to that extent, we are all activists in our own way.
As always, I look forward to meeting more activists throughout these summer months, and I hope in the middle of that you can all find some well-deserved time to rest.