Dear Local 72-147 Members,
I address you now as we all address one of the greatest crises in our union’s history, and in fact, in our nation’s history. We musicians are affected by COVID-19 in an especially personal way. As we were among the very first to feel the economic burn that gathering restrictions and social distancing reeked upon our complete industry, we have sustained a blow at our very core. Beyond the very real economic affects of the shutdown and the dangers to public health, we are further made to stop doing that which brings us life. As we now are kept from coming together to make music in groups, and share that collaboration with our audiences, we wonder when our work, our livelihoods, our mission will be allowed to return. And yet I am seeing our music survive and sing through the void, and our union stepping up to the challenge.
Legislative Advocacy at the time of Crisis
From the moment that the shutdown of the entertainment industry became a previously unimaginable reality, the AFM came together through an immediate campaign to have legislation introduced, which would provide relief for working people in the entertainment industry – every bit as crucial to the economy as the cruise ship, airline and travel industries. After the Families First Coronaviris Response Act was signed into law expanding paid leave and unemployment benefits, mandating paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, most gig workers in the entertainment industry were still not provided for. After a renewed campaign from the AFM Legislative Department and a letter writing campaign by our members across the nation, unemployment relief was extended to independent contractors for the first time through the CARES Act, signed into law on March 27. Also included in this legislation is added support of the arts through increased funding of the National Endowment of the Arts, and through the SBA’s Payroll Protection Program’s forgivable loans. Here in DFW, our three largest employers of musicians were greatly helped to maintain payroll and benefits to our musicianRead more