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 » Articles » Orchestra News » Virginia Symphony Orchestra Ratifies Collective Bargaining Agreement After Challenging Negotiations


Virginia Symphony Orchestra Ratifies Collective Bargaining Agreement After Challenging Negotiations

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In July, the musicians of the Virginia Symphony ratified a three-year agreement that is retroactive to August 1, 2018, and continues through July 31, 2021. The CBA covers 49 core musicians and 29 per-service musicians, represented by Local 125 (Norfolk, VA).

Negotiations were difficult and lasted nearly a year. The committee successfully fought proposals to eliminate a currently filled core position, reduce per-service guarantees, and cut a week from the season. Some gains were made, including bringing the per-service rate back to parity with the core rate. The contract calls for small raises each season, putting base salaries just over $32,000 by 2020-2021. New language allows musicians to apply for up to 40 days unpaid leave per season. However, orchestra size, compensation, and minimal leave remain at levels that are unsustainable.

During the course of negotiations—and despite the fact that the Virginia Symphony is in the midst of an endowment campaign and has been balancing its budgets and reducing accumulated debt—the committee saw disappointing strategic plan proposals from the board that would cut orchestra spending.

As it prepares for its centennial season in 2020-21, the organization is in flux, seeking both a new music director and associate conductor.







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