Our Votes Have Made Important Change for Musicians
Once again it is time to get out and vote with midterm elections happening TOMORROW, November 8. And it is as important a time as it has ever been for us musicians to get to the polls and make our voices heard.
From support of the National Endowment of the Arts to protecting our ability to travel with our instruments to achieving legislation which ensures that our pension fund continues and thrives, those legislators who support our needs at every level of government are important to the labor community and its musicians everywhere.
After years of suffering painful strife over a pile of unfortunate circumstances — dividing us and creating fear for our retirement years — a solution was finally reached through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The AFM & Employers Pension Fund was given a path of recovery and solvency which was made possible by the support of members of congress who supported labor, and saw the vital importance in providing support to the future of so many union members. At one time, it seemed a pipe dream to think that a solution was so close. I remember facing painful disillusionment among concerned members, but I assured them that a solution did in fact exist. Support from our elected officials could easily make a difference, with a responsible vote on proposed legislation. AND IT HAPPENED.
This just shows how important our votes truly are. We CAN make a difference. Recently the Performing Artist Tax Parity Act was introduced by House Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA) and Vern Buchannan (R-FL), which would restore above the line tax deductions which were lost in the 2017 Trump Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This is another example of legislation which if passed would directly affect thousands of musicians. Other proposed legislation such as the Protect the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) would be a game changer, restoring rights to organize for independent contractor musicians, which we lost decades ago.
It is also critical that responsible appointments be made to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to protect our rights as union members and our ability to negotiate fairly for our bargaining units. Local 72-147 currently has pending charges which have been taken to the NLRB, and political appointments to the board are all the more important to us.
Experience has taught us that our relationships bear fruit on both sides of the aisle. Cries for fairness, empathy and justice speak to all parties seeking to honorably represent the electorate. Certainly, we have long been working with members of Congress to make known our priorities on tax reform, arts funding, performance rights, support for our retirement security and healthcare.
It is now the time and a supreme opportunity to vote for the candidates who share our values and vote out those who do not.
If you have not voted yet— be sure you do on Election Day.
You can check out the Texas AFL-CIO endorsements of labor supporting candidates HERE.