Protect Yourself By Filing Contracts

Every year we have several requests from members who work freelance for help concerning a problem with a job. Usually, they either haven’t been paid at all, or were paid too little. Sometimes it involves working conditions. Unfortunately, usually the person(s) requesting assistance did not use a union contract on the gig. Sometimes we are able to help them get a satisfactory outcome anyway, but if you are working without a signed contract, you are at risk of losing your pay, as there is little the local or the AFM can do legally without an agreement.

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Participation in Committees, Membership Meetings & Events

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year, and wish you all the best as we gear up for another great holiday season this December.

This time of year we always look back on the year, its ups and downs, and plan forward for the next year. At our last Membership meeting on November 11, we had a discussion about making more of these meetings, increasing attendance, and our sense of community in our local. After a discussion of how member participation is how we really make our union stronger, one member who had just joined this year commented: “Ask not what your union can do for you, but what you can do for your union…”

We carried this discussion on to our next Executive Board meeting, and from this arose plans to build new standing committees with the purpose of bringing our union more together and getting more done. We are beginning with a Member Engagement Committee to help schedule and plan our Membership Meetings and Orientations, and develop them into really special events. Our first of these is scheduled for the morning of February 22. We are looking for folks to help come up with ways to program the events so they bring special opportunities to our members, along with access to union business, discussion and fellowship. Please contact me or Frederick Nichelson, who has volunteered to chair this committee as we get it going. Let us know soon, as February 22 will be here sooner than we all think!

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The Convention, New Initiatives, Pension Struggle, Negotiations and Fighting the Union Busters

It has been quite a year so far for us here in Local 72-147. We have begun new initiatives, made new friends, taken on new challenges, and continue to stand up to enforce our agreements. One of our priorities this year has been to develop new relationships and improve the communication and effectiveness of those we already have. We do this to strengthen our position as we move into a new season of music making where we will be renegotiating many new agreements and reaching out to the community.

In terms of reaching out we have a new series that is a result of our relationship with Klyde Warren Park in dowtown Dallas and the efforts of our members working together to broaden our footprint in the community. This “Musicians in the Park” series debuted last April. An adaptation of the Meet and Greet & Jam Sessions that we began doing throughout the community last year, we put together a concert featuring a house band jamming with featured members and reaching out to non members as well. This concert was more than a recruitment event though. It was an opportunity to speak directly to the city about our mission of being there for musicians, and not just any musicians, but OUR musicians. The musicians who are the musical voices of our home and city. Artistically the concert was an amazing success, gave us a moment to celebrate who we are and what we do, have some fellowship, and show the community how important we are to its cultural life. We are making plans for a follow up to this event, and are working to put together another diverse and quality program that people will come to see as a destination event.

We also, through MPTF funding, collaborated with Klyde Warren Park to bring music to the first ever Memorial Day Music Fest at the park. Sponsoring the East Stage during this one day festival, an estimated forty thousand people came to enjoy. Plans for this festival next year have already begun with the intention of improving on this already great success. We are so pleased to enhance the festival seas

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Pension Update: Critical & Declining Status Projected – What to Expect

As of March 31, the AFM-EPF’s fiscal year of 2018-19 has come to an end. In February, we were notified that actuaries project a strong likelihood that the Fund will enter “critical and declining” status after being in critical status since 2010. You may find the text of the full notification, which is posted on 

Over the next two months, the Fund’s actuaries will collect and analyze the year-end data and prepare actuarial projections to determine whether our Fund will remain in “critical” status or move into “critical and declining” status for the new fiscal year.

I recommend that you visit the Fund’s Website and check out the “Staying Informed” tab for more detailed explanation, but I wanted to provide as clear an explanation here as possible.

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Financial Assistance In Time of Need

One of the most under-publicized things a union does is to help people in need. Examples from the recent past include the plumbers union donating their time to install pipes and filters for people with poisoned water in Flint, Michigan; and here in Texas, many unions donated food, labor, and financial assistance to Hurricane Harvey victims, including the AFM. As President Williams has written, musicians can be the most vulnerable people in the world when health crises occur – even a short illness can result in critical lost income beyond the cost of health care. I wanted to bring to your attention to four different resources where you can get help for yourself or a fellow member in need of financial assistance due to illness, injury, or disability.

First, our local has its own fund in our Musicians Federal Credit Union called the Bill Collins Benefit Fund, which was established by Bill Collins III in honor of his father, Bill Collins Jr. Its purpose is to help members who are temporarily unable to work as a musician, or are in need of financial assistance, for medical reasons.

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Bargaining Unit Report: FWSO

by The FWSO Players’ Committee

Two recent appointments have brought great optimism to the musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony: Dr. Keith Cerny began his tenure as President and CEO in January, and last week came the announcement that Robert Spano will join us as Principal Guest Conductor in the 20/21 season.
We’re confident that Keith Cerny will bring the same quality of fresh thinking and innovation that he brought to the Dallas Opera, where he established the Hart Institute for Women Conductors, oversaw the commissioning of several new operas, and led the music director search that culminated in the hiring of Emmanuel Villaume. He remains popular with the musicians of the Dallas Opera Orchestra.

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Remembering A. Philip Randolph, Union Leader, Father of the Civil Rights Movement

As February rolls to a close, it is most appropriate to remember one of history’s greatest labor leaders, A Philip Randolph. On August 28, 1963 more than 200,000 Americans gathered in Washington DC for a political rally which became a key moment in the struggle for civil rights in the United States. On that day, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired millions across the world with the delivery of his immortal “I have a dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

In many ways that march and that speech defined the virtue and ideals of an era struggling for and through progressive change – a struggle which continues today.

What we often forget is the place of organized labor in bringing about this watershed event.

When looking over photos documenting this history-changing event, one sees the two principal organizers of the event at Dr. King’s side. One is A. Philip Randolph who had been an African American Union leader (National Brotherhood of Workers of America and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters) for more than 40 years, and now considered the father of the modern American civil rights movement. Randolph’s protege Bayard Rustin, who can also clearly be seen in those pictures, had been cutting his teeth organizing non-violent protest for decades.
The idea for the March on Washington actually began back in 1941 when these two began organizing such an event.

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I hope everyone has had a great holiday season, and a Happy New Year! As we tend to make New Years resolutions, I would like to put forth some resolutions for our local — resolutions we will keep!

Building on the beginnings of last year, we are set to move forward representing musicians and partnering with our community like never before. Last year, we held three events — Jam Sessions — where we reached out to members in the community to host events building our own internal relationships while reaching out to other musicians in our area. We held events in Dallas, Denton and Fort Worth. In beginning this initiative, we took the first steps in developing a new outreach, but achieved things that we had not expected, leading us to new avenues of potential. As a result, we now have partnerships with the community that we otherwise would not have. With the Greater Denton Arts Council for example, we now have a partner in reaching out to students preparing for their music careers at the University of North Texas. And with the Woodall Rogers Park Foundation (Klyde Warren Park), we have a partner in bringing musicians together and showcasing them to the city. (You will hear more about that soon!) With these new connections we are increasingly set up to foster the performing arts scene

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Please take a look at the new website

I hope that you have all had a chance to look at our new website. If not, please take a moment and log in. It can be found at the same address, The user name on your account will be the same as the email address that we have on file for you (if you would like to change this, call the office at 817-469-6040, or email me at You should have received an email from us at that address several weeks ago with a temporary password. If you cannot find it, or have trouble, try using “forgot my password” link on the login page to set up a new password. You can also always call the office and any of us can help you set up a new password.

The functionality of the new site is greatly increased over the old one, and we will continue to improve it over time. It will also greatly improve our ability to communicate with our members. This new online newsletter you are now reading, for instance, is in the form of a blog and will be out monthly in the future.

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