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


Home » Electronic Media Services » What Is a Yellow Dog Contract?

What Is a Yellow Dog Contract?

  -  Recording Musicians Association President and Member of Locals 47 and 802

According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Center, “Yellow dog contracts are agreements between an employer and employee in which, often as a precondition to being hired, the employee agrees not to become a labor union member or act in collaboration with other employees. There are both federal and state statutes outlawing yellow dog contracts.”

It is now commonplace for film and television companies, as well as other media companies, to insert language into composers’ contracts forbidding them from using AFM musicians or allowing union coverage for musicians. This is done by our signatory companies and their hydra-headed subsidiaries and associates on a regular basis.

This blatant anti-union practice is devastating for both composers, whose work is not covered by union contracts, and performers and music preparation professionals, whose work should always be covered. It divides composers from players, putting contractors and musicians in harm’s way. It leads to off-shoring and undermining of standards at home. And it’s not just AFM musicians who suffer from this union-busting approach; SAG-AFTRA session singers are often victimized by this as well.

So why has this continued? The responsibility for this is squarely on the companies themselves.

Composers compete with each other, without the benefit of union coverage for their agreements with the companies. Their individual, personal contracts are negotiated on their behalf by agents who bring their own agendas along and put them in a position of vulnerability. The composers often have to battle with the companies just to maintain their own intellectual property rights.

It’s time to call out all these bad employers for their pervasive union-busting, anti-musician decisions. As our Fair Share for Musicians campaign moves forward and we seek fairness and sustainability in our contracts, we will be voicing our opposition to yellow dog contracts wherever they appear.

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