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.
January 27, 2015Sam Folio - former AFM International Secretary-Treasurer
This month my column focuses on initiatives and benefits, new and old, to AFM membership.
Working Musician Connection
I am proud to announce the upcoming launch of the AFM Working Musician Connection—an electronic newsletter (e-newsletter) focused on career building for musicians. This e-newsletter will be include advice and tips to help freelance musicians find work and succeed in the music business.
Aside from connecting musicians and offering them an additional benefit to their AFM membership, AFM Working Musician Connection is a plus for the AFM as well. It can be used as a platform for information and promotion of AFM Entertainment, GoProHosting, UnionPlus, as well as other AFM events and activities.
We also plan to launch a “Why I’m a Member” video campaign and contest, inviting locals and members to submit a video talking about the benefits of AFM membership and about what being an AFM member means to them. These videos will be featured on the InternationalMusician.org website and incorporated into AFM Working Musician Connection e-newsletter. (Details can be found at: InternationalMusician.org/submit-video/)
Watch for this new and valuable newsletter. We will be asking members to opt-in to this list. We hope that you will help us to promote Working Music Connection and encourage other members to sign up for this worthwhile membership benefit. Sign up today at: InternationalMusician.org/list.
Open Enrollment Deadline: February 15
There are just two weeks to go before the end of the 2015 open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Data through mid January showed that 286 AFM members and/or their families had visited the AFM-cobranded Working America Health Care website (www.workingamericahealthcare.org) and/or called the dedicated toll free number (855-698-2479) to shop for health insurance.
Seven AFM members and/or families had enrolled in health insurance plans through Working America Health Care, saving an average of $235 per individual per month in monthly premiums. Fourteen others are still shopping.
People who do not enroll in health insurance that meets the minimum requirements may be accessed a penalty of $325 or 2% of income per person, whichever is greater. These last two weeks are your final opportunity to enroll through the Health Insurance Marketplace, unless you face a life-changing event.
UnionPlus Dental and Vision Care
Did you know that, as a member of the AFM, you can save money on vision and dental care, as well as prescription drugs, through UnionPlus Health Savings Programs? Joining Careington’s Maximum Care Discount Plus Network for dental care will provide you with discounts of 5% to 60% below the 80th percentile of reasonable and customary charges. This is one of the largest dental networks in the nation with a focus on neighborhood dentists.
With Careington’s vision plan, members can save 15% to 35% off eye exams and eyeglasses. Members will pay no more than the maximum amount shown based on their regional fee schedule. Savings vary depending on the doctor’s location and the maximum costs. There are more than 50,000 participating points of care in retail and medical locations. Aside from typical vision problems, preferred providers can detect signs of serious health conditions like glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Through a free prescription card available to members, you can save 15% to 60% on generic drugs and 15% to 25% on brand name drugs at more than 60,000 participating pharmacies nationwide, including Costco, Safeway, CVS, Duane Reade, Target, Walgreens, and Rite Aid. Through an interactive website, you can locate the nearest participating pharmacy and accurately check the current costs of drugs. This powerful tool lets members make educated cost-saving decisions. For more information on these programs visit: www.unionplus.org/health/health-savings.
“A friend should bear his friend’s infirmities.”
(Julius Caesar 4.3.85), Cassius to Brutus