Union Strong, Union Smart with New Union Plus Education Benefits

February 10th, 2011

The rising costs of education are a hurdle for working families. But thanks to new Union Plus discounts, scholarships and rebates, AFM families and their children have help to get the college edge.

New Education Rebates: AFM Union Plus Credit Card holders can now qualify for rebates of $50, $125 or $250 for eligible education purchases made with their AFM Union Plus Credit Card.

Purchases made at educational institutions for college text books, tuition, tutoring, dining costs and other education-related expenses qualify for the rebate. In addition, fees from The Princeton Review college test preparation courses and SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, MCAT and LSAT test registration (College Board or other test providers) qualify for the rebate.

Amount of Eligible Education Purchase Rebate Amount
$200 $50
$500 $125
$1000 $250

Visit UnionPlus.org/Education to learn more and to download an education rebate application.

Union Plus Scholarships
Whether you’re attending the National Labor College or another accredited institution, Union Plus can help you cut the cost of a higher education with these scholarships:

  • $150,000 in Union Plus Scholarship awards are granted to students attending a two-year college, four-year college, graduate school or a recognized technical or trade school.
  • $25,000 in scholarships to help union members and leaders obtain degrees at the National Labor College.
  • New scholarships for Digital Learning classes for the National Labor College’s three new online degree programs in March and May.
  • Canadian members may also apply for scholarships if attending a school in the U.S. Visit UnionPlus Education for more information.

Save on College Test Preparation
AFM families and their children can now better afford the preparation needed to get that college acceptance letter. Your Union Plus College Test Preparation Discount can save AFM families 15-60% on college and graduate preparation classes with The Princeton Review:

  • Save on SAT and ACT Online and Classroom Courses
  • College Affordability and Admissions Courses at 50% off Lessen the Stress
  • Save 20-50% on GRE, GMAT, LSAT or MCAT test prep.

Not sure what help you need? Sign up for a free, no obligation, full-length practice test and an advisor will help you review your results to see what type of help is best for you.

Canadian union members can also take advantage of the discounts. To enroll or learn more about your union-member-only discount, call 1-888-243-7737 or visit UnionPlus.org/CollegePrep.

Grants are also available to help you save for your children or grandchildren’s future. Learn more at UnionPlus.org/Education.

Local Compliance

February 10th, 2011

Locals are reminded that Article 5 of the AFM Bylaws (PDF) contains compliance standards and requirements designed to ensure successful operation of the Local and to provide appropriate representation to its membership.

Local Relinquishments

February 10th, 2011

Janurary 2011

  • Local 52-626, Norwalk charter revoked to Local 802, New York, NY (effective January 1, 2011)
  • Local 351, Burlington, VT charter relinquished to Local 171, Springfield, MA (effective January 1, 2011)
  • Local 27, New Castle, PA relinquished to Local 118, Warren, OH (effective January 1, 2011)
  • Local 472, York, PA relinquished to Local 294, Lancaster, PA (effective January 1, 2011)
  • Local 436-515, Pottsville, PA relinquished to Local 135-211, Reading, PA (effective January 1, 2011)
  • Local 469, Watertown, WI charter lapsed, reassigned to Local 193, Waukesha, WI (effective January 1, 2011)
  • Local 387, Jackson, MI charter lapsed, reassigned to Local 626, Ann Arbor, MI (effective January 1, 2011)

February 2011

  • Local 461, Anacortes, WA lapsed charter reassigned to Local 76-493, Seattle, WA (effective 2/1/2011)

2011 Conference Dates

February 10th, 2011

2011 Conference Dates
(Partial list)

  • Western
    Vancouver, BC, CAN
    February 25-27
  • New England & New York
    Holyoke, MA
    March 18-20
  • Mid-States
    Milwaukee, WI
    April 30 & May 1
    Las Vegas, NV
    June 4-5
  • Southern
    Atlanta, GA
    June 11-12
  • OCSM
    Vancouver, BC, CAN
    August 10-14
  • TMA
    Dearborn, MI
    August 15-16
    Dearborn, MI
    August 17-20
  • Canadian
    Calgary, Alberta, CAN
    August 19-21
  • ROPA
    Portland, ME
    Date TBA

FIF, FWD and Per Capita Forms Online

February 10th, 2011

A reminder for local officers that your Federation Initiation Fee (FIF), Federation Work Dues (FWD) and Per Capita forms are available at the AFM.org Document Library.

At this time, the Per Capita and the Canadian Federation Work Dues form are “PDF fillable”. This means that you can fill out these forms online, print, sign and submit these forms with your checks to the Finance Department.

The IT Department is working on making all forms “PDF fillable” for 2011.

Effective January 1, 2011 the “No FIF/Work Dues Report” card will be available at AFM.org Document Library. By completing the form online and clicking “send mail” an email will be generated and sent to the person completing the form and the Finance Department.

Local Recordkeeping 2011

February 10th, 2011

For local officers, the New Year brings opportunities to start the year resolute to once again serve the membership at the highest level, and also, to refine the duty of recordkeeping and reporting. This article will provide information and reminders to locals, which may assist with this duty.

In compliance with the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) of 1959, as amended, unions have the responsibility to file certain documents and records with the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS). The annual LM report for US locals (LM 2, 3, or 4), and the local’s constitution and bylaws, are two of the most important documents that locals are required to file regularly with the OLMS. Additionally, locals are required to file any changes and updates to the local bylaws with the OLMS. This document is a public record, and as such, must be up to date and accurate. For US locals, the form 990 or e-card are also required reporting documents to be filed in a timely manner with the IRS.

It is important to ensure that locals’ LM reports are filed in a timely manner with the OLMS. Failure to do so sets up red flags and is an invitation for a compliance audit with the Department of Labor (DOL). It is equally important to maintain accuracy in annual reporting and from one year’s LM report to the next. For instance, if your local ended last year’s report with a balance of $5,000 in an operating account, it is important that your records reflect an identical opening balance for that account. Other actions that can bring negative attention to the LM report are simple math mistakes on the LM forms. It is advisable to always have a second set of eyes proof the LM report prior to sending it to the government. Accuracy and veracity are a priority in filing LM reports and the form 990 or e-card. All records backing up any LM or 990 reporting must be maintained for a minimum of five years, in order to verify the reports with the DOL or IRS if need be.

For more information on LM reporting and other compliance and labor matters, visit the Department of Labor website at: www.dol.gov. This site contains a wealth of information helpful to locals.

In order to have the information necessary to file accurate LM reports, it is highly recommended that locals maintain accurate day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month records. Every transaction, whether an expenditure or a receipt of funds, should be immediately notated, outlining the purpose for the expense or receipt of funds. A special note should be made regarding cash transactions, since cash transactions can be problematic if they are not properly notated. Anytime cash is received as payment, a receipt must be provided to the employee or officer on the spot, with clear notation for the records. Likewise, if cash is provided as a method of payment, be sure to obtain a receipt from the vendor to whom payment was made. Cash should be kept in a safe, and not in an office drawer or other unsecure location.

Another unnecessary pitfall among some locals is the practice of one local officer signing a blank check and leaving it with another officer to use in the course of business. Just as a reminder, this is not an acceptable practice and is an invitation for misuse of local union funds. Checks should never contain a signature unless fully executed in all other lines. All checks should require a dual signature. This is a common sense check and balance for financial responsibilities.

Additional elements germane to good recordkeeping and to safeguard your local are:

  • Reconcile bank statements monthly.
  • Prepare a quarterly financial statement and share it with your board.
  • Do not use ATM cards (debit cards) for any local purchases.
  • Make copies of checks for your records prior to any deposit.
  • Keep detailed records of any credit card purchases.
  • Do not mix personal and business accounts and expenditures.
  • Keep hard copy files to back up electronic files.

For more information or assistance, your AFM International Representative (IR) is available via phone, Internet, fax, and if necessary, in-person visits. If your local is contacted by the DOL for a compliance audit, please contact your IR right away. Click here for IR contact information.

IEB Meeting Synopsis’ Available Online

September 10th, 2010

As part of the AFM International Executive Board’s mission to promote more communication among AFM members, the AFM will now make IEB meeting synopsis’ available online following each quarterly meeting.

In doing so, the IEB will become more open and transparent, and allow local officers, as well as other AFM members, to be kept up-to-date about union happenings.

To view the meeting summaries go to: www.AFM.org, enter your username and password for MyAFM (member section), then follow: Documents Library > I.E.B. > Minutes > 2010.

The IEB will also continue to post the complete minutes of each IEB meeting following approval at the subsequent board meeting.

New International Executive Board Takes Office

August 2nd, 2010

August 1, 2010 marks the first official day in office for the AFM International Executive Board elected at the 98th Convention. The Federation’s leadership has some fresh faces among its executive officers, with the election of AFM International President Ray Hair and International Vice President Bruce Fife. International Secretary-Treasurer Sam Folio and Vice President from Canada Bill Skolnik were re-elected.

Executive Officers

International President
Ray Hair

Mr. Hair has been a professional musician since 1964, performing as a freelance, club-date, recording, and traveling musician. He has been president of Local 72-147 (Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX) for more than 27 years and was first elected to the AFM International Executive Board in 1989. Hair holds a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s in music from the University of North Texas in Denton, where he taught drum set from 1975 to 1983.

International Vice-President
Bruce Fife

Mr. Fife became a professional musician in his early 20s and spent the next 25 years on the road, as a working-class musician on guitar, keys, harmonica, and vocals. In 1999, he was first elected to the Executive Board of Local 99 (Portland, OR) and became president in 2001. Fife is a founding member of the Oregon Alliance to Reform Media and serves on the boards of MetroEast Community Media (KZME Radio), MusicFestNW, and the Music Education Assistance Project. He is active with many labor and justice organizations, including the AFL-CIO and Jobs with Justice.

Vice-President from Canada
Bill Skolnik

Mr. Skolnik, who easily won re-election, has had a diverse career in the entertainment industry, having worked as a musician, music director, composer, arranger, lyricist, and producer. He has lived in various parts of Canada and has been an active member of Locals 149 (Toronto, ON), 145 (Vancouver, BC) and 547 (Calgary, AB), during his 35-plus years of AFM membership. Since 1998, Skolnik has served as the Executive Director of Local 149, which he helped to recover from the brink of insolvency. He is a founding member of the Guild of Canadian Film Composers and a founding trustee of the Radio Producers’ Educational Trust Fund.

International Secretary-Treasurer
Sam Folio

Mr. Folio, who has served five years as secretary-treasurer, counts among his accomplishments: bringing the IM on par with other music industry magazines, improvements in the AFM’s web presence, and modernization of the AFM’s accounting program. Folio is a percussionist and vocalist whose career has included time spent as a faculty member at West Virginia University, political positions for two governors, and work as an administrator for a 500-bed public psychiatric hospital. He is the former president of Local 580 (Clarksburg, WV).

IEB members

Joe Parente
Local 77 (Philadelphia, PA)

Mr. Parente has been an active AFM member for 35 years, working as a studio musician, arranger/orchestrator, and pianist. He has been an officer of Local 77 for 25 years and the local’s president since 1996. He has been on the AFM International Executive Board for five years.

Vince Trombetta
Local 47 (Los Angeles)

Mr. Trombetta is an established musician who has worked under and negotiated nearly every type of agreement. He is president of Local 47 and has been a trustee on the local’s executive board for 15 years and a trustee for the H&W Fund for 11 years. He is also chair of the local’s Wage Scale and Legislative committees.

Tino Gagliardi
Local 802 (New York City)

A New York trumpet player, Mr. Gagliardi was elected to the Theatre Committee negotiating team and Local 802 Executive Board in 2003. He became Theatre Committee co-chair in 2005 and chair in 2007. He was RMA-NY secretary from 2007 to 2010, when he became president of Local 802.

Dave Pomeroy
Local 257 (Nashville, TN)

Mr. Pomeroy has played bass on hundreds of albums, six Grammy-winning recordings, and performed with many top artists. He has released numerous solo and band projects on Earwave Records. He was RMA Nashville president from 2005-2008, when he was elected President of Local 257.

Tina Morrison
Local 105 (Spokane, WA)

Ms. Morrison has been an officer with Local 105 (Spokane, WA) for 12 years, serving as secretary-treasurer for seven years before becoming local president. The bassoonist has been on the Diversity Committee since 2003 and an AFM member for a total of 20 years.

For the most current contact information, please visit the official IEB homepage.

GoPro Tunes Now Collecting AFM Member Recordings

May 12th, 2010

The AFM’s new online music store, GoPro Tunes (www.goprotunes.com), is now collecting recordings — singles, EPs, or full albums — from AFM members. When we gather enough music to have a diverse catalog, we will announce GoPro Tunes to the public, selling digital audio files (e.g. MP3s), similar to Apple’s iTunes or Amazon MP3.

Sending music to GoPro Tunes is quick and easy. With a simple online interface, your members can upload their music, cover art, and a copy of their AFM recording agreement, usually with everything approved and ready-to-go within one business day. Best yet, Federation staff are available for assistance every step of the way.

AFM members set their own prices, pay no upfront fees and receive back all revenue from their music sales, minus credit card processing fees. This is a value that can’t be beat anywhere, including popular services such as CDBaby and Tunecore.

The success of this exciting initiative hinges on our collective ability to inform and motivate our members about GoPro Tunes. We need as many AFM members as possible to send us their music, and to assure their participation, we need your help!

How Local Officers Can Help

  • Send an email blast to your membership announcing GoPro Tunes and the call for recordings. You can find a sample email here.
  • Publish an article or ad in your next newsletter about GoPro Tunes. You can find a sample article and sample ad here.
  • Have a discussion about GoPro Tunes at your next membership meeting.
  • If you haven’t already done so, get acquainted with the new Joint Venture Report, which was created with self-producing AFM artists in mind. Read our “Introduction to the Joint Venture Report” here.
  • Consider making phone calls to the members you know have recordings — both to those already using AFM agreements and to those that might now be brought under an AFM agreement such as the Joint Venture Report.
  • Create a test account on GoPro Tunes yourself, so you’re aware of what’s involved in signing up to sell music.

An Introduction to the Joint Venture Report

May 12th, 2010

The AFM Joint Venture Recording Report provides AFM members with a practical avenue to document self-produced recordings. Basically, the Joint Venture Report requires no upfront wages or benefits, but instead specifies what share of future revenues each band or ensemble member will receive. For instance, a string quartet might choose to divide album revenues equally, with each member getting 25%.

Members can use the Joint Venture Report when the following conditions are met:

  • There is no employer.
  • AFM members on the date are self-producing or collaborating in self-production, not providing a service-for-hire, and are in creative control over material and the recording process.
  • The purpose of the recording is to produce a demo to obtain work for live performing and/or the purpose of the recording is to produce a product for sale and the proceeds from sales exclusively benefit band members.

Approval of Joint Venture Reports

We expect that many of the recordings on the AFM’s new online music store, GoPro Tunes, will be covered under the Joint Venture Report. As a result, local officers may be receiving an influx of Joint Venture Reports as the store grows in popularity.

Local officers are responsible for the approval of Joint Venture Reports filed in their jurisdiction. When evaluating the validity of Joint Venture Reports, local officers should carefully consider the points in the Joint Venture Report Summary. You can find a PDF copy of the Joint Venture Report Summary here and the Report form here.

Applying the Joint Venture Report to Previously-made Recordings

The Joint Venture Report has unique potential to bring previously-made recordings “into the light”, under a legitimate AFM recording agreement. If music was previously recorded under the conditions listed above, members can apply to be protected by the Joint Venture Report now.

If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment to read through the Joint Venture Report Summary, as well as the actual Report form. If you have any questions, please contact us here.