The AFM Futures Committee
Volume CV, No. 7/8July, 2005
EMERGENCY RECOMMENDATION NO. 8
The AFM Futures Committee was established by order of the delegates of the AFM’s 95th biennial convention of 2003, through the adoption of Emergency Recommendation No. 8. The Recommendation put in place a comprehensive financial package intended to produce an additional $1 million to the Federation in revenues annually and to establish a Futures Committee that would look into and make recommendations for improving services to the membership.
In summary, the financial package included: 1) An increased per capita of $2 per year over four successive years — accounting for nearly $182,000; 2) the retention by the Federation of 0.5 percent more on the 12 percent clip use work dues (the portion going to the locals was reduced to 1.5 percent from 2 percent) — accounting for an additional $20,000; 3) an increase in Federation symphonic work dues to 0.55 percent (from 0.5 percent) — providing an additional $161,000; 4) the elimination of the local’s portion of traveling work dues — giving the AFM $47,000; and, 5) for the majority of the increase, a newly imposed tiered payment schedule for an assessment to be paid to the Federation by musicians receiving special payments distributions — accounting for approximately 70 percent of the overall financial package.
The focus of the convention was on unity, cooperation and the assurance that there would be sufficient funds to run a professional union with power and influence.
Sadly, since the implementation of Emergency Recommendation No. 8, escalating conflict and disagreements between the AFM and the Recording Musicians Association have instead fractured our union.
Without a doubt, resolving this critical division within our own ranks will be the centerpiece of the AFM’s upcoming convention in July. It is the proverbial “elephant in the middle of the room”.
Local 802 is committed to working with all parties concerned and taking whatever steps necessary to heal this great divide so that we may put our union back on the path to solidarity — solidarity that can only be fostered in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust.
THE FUTURES COMMITTEE
Lost in this very public debate, however, is another critical aspect of Emergency Recommendation No. 8 — the AFM Futures Committee. In adopting the Recommendation, the delegates also expressed an interest in a general study of issues regarding the AFM’s future physical and financial structure. As a result, the AFM president was directed to appoint a Futures Committee to “review the relationships between the Federation, the locals and their members with a view toward achieving the most effective membership representation.” The committee’s charge was to focus its study and attention on the future direction of the Union, make recommendations to and meet with the International Executive Board, and submit to the upcoming 2005 convention any resolutions the Committee deemed appropriate.
The Committee, chaired by former 802 president Bill Moriarity, was comprised of the Federation President and Secretary-Treasurer as ex officio members; three (3) IEB members; nine (9) current local officers; and a representative from each of the five (5) Players’ Conferences.
The Committee’s work was accomplished over a ten-month period between January and October 2004. The committee met with the IEB at its first quarter meeting in March 2005 which resulted in thirteen by-law resolutions submitted by the Committee and the IEB for consideration by the delegates at our upcoming convention. Those resolutions are printed in their entirety in the May 2005 issue of the International Musician and can be accessed through the Federation’s website at www.afm.org.
In summary, the Committee’s recommendations address:
- A broader outreach of shared resources and communication throughout the Federation by the establishment of Regional Resource Centers throughout the United States and Canada;
- The need to organize from a local and global perspective; and,
- The locals’ role in the furtherance of these goals.
RESOLUTION NO. 1
As a member of the Futures Committee and Co-chair of one of its two sub-committees, I would like to focus on what I believe to be one of the most important recommendations of the Committee, embodied in Resolution No. 1 to the convention:
RESOLVED, That Section 4(h) and 4(i) of Article 3 of the AFM Bylaws be renumbered Section 4(i) and 4 (j) respectively, and that a new Section 4(h) be added to Article 3 as follows:
NEW SECTION 4(h).
The International President shall appoint an “Executive Assistant to the President,” create Regional Resource Centers and, after consulting with the Secretary-Treasurer, Vice-President from Canada and Executive Assistant, appoint Regional Resource Directors as follows, all subject to approval by the IEB, which shall also set the compensation for these positions.
i. There shall be an Executive Assistant to the President, answerable to the President, who shall serve as his/her representative with regard to implementation of AFM policy and supervision of field/resource departments. The Executive Assistant will direct and sort inquiries that may come into the AFM offices.
ii. There shall be up to ten (10) Regional Resource Centers established in locals throughout the United States and Canada and up to ten (10) full and/or part-time Regional Resource Directors appointed who shall report to the Executive Assistant.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that current Article 3, Section 4(j) be deleted in its entirety.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all references to International Representatives in the AFM Bylaws be changed to Regional Resource Directors.
THE “R” WORD
This is not the first time the Federation has asked itself “do the challenges we face require us to rethink how our union is structured?” Nor is it the first time the observation has been made that “perhaps our structure has not kept pace with a dramatically changed industry”. The Roehl Recommendations in the early 1990’s followed by the work of the Investigative Task Force in the later part of that decade attempted to tackle those very issues. I will not presume to analyze the good work of those committees, however, suffice it to say that we on the Futures Committee indeed grappled with the very same issues.
Looming over any discussion of restructure is the inevitable “R’ word — that is “Regionalization”. There — I said it. We were all painfully aware that the word itself can conjure up all sorts of jurisdictional fears — all of which come down to “will the large locals devour the smaller locals.”
To be perfectly clear, we on the Futures Committee were very mindful of these concerns and the emotions evoked by even the mere mention of the word. While we most certainly believed that some sort of restructure was critical to the ongoing viability of the Federation and its ability to confront the challenges of a dramatically changed industry in an increasingly anti-union climate, we also were committed to upholding one of the most sacred tenets of unionism — an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. I submit it would serve us well to not only adopt this as our credo against external attack — it should be our internal credo as well.
It was in this spirit that the Futures Committee asked itself “how can we put in place a structure that will optimize the sharing of resources throughout the Federation, in a spirit that makes no distinction between locals large, medium or small. I believe that the Regional Resource Centers described in Resolution No. 1 provide the opportunity for us to accomplish that goal.
We recognize that many dedicated officers wish to address the problems they know exist, but are without the necessary resources to do so. The Resource Centers would provide an active communication network and avenue of resource sharing under the governance of the Federation, not any one particular local. Events that occur in one jurisdiction and effect all of us, would be instantly shared and evaluated by the Federation through the coordination of the Regional Resource Centers through its respective Directors, on a steady and frequent basis.
For example, a local in need of assistance in the areas of legal services, public relations, organizing and recruitment or negotiations, would be able to access critical resources that their local may neither have the financial capacity nor manpower to realize. In some cases, a smaller local might hold the key to addressing a problem faced by a larger local — the sharing of experience and information would go both ways. The Resource Centers will hold the key to keeping up with the fast pace of events that occur around us on a daily basis. We believe a system can be put in place that decreases our daily isolation from one another and increases mutual aid and shared experience. It is a plan to foster a culture that truly embraces what the union is and should be all about.