Reporting on the 102nd AFM Convention

August 8, 2023


International President Raymond M. Hair, Jr. presiding over the 102nd AFM Convention


by Secretary-Treasurer Aaron Pino

The 102nd AFM Convention was held at the Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas from June 26 through June 29.  The elected delegates attending from our Local were President Stewart Williams, Secretary-Treasurer Aaron Pino, former President Ken Krause, and Executive Board Member Fred Nichelson.  All four delegates also served on a committee at the Convention: Williams served on the Finance Committee, Pino served on the Good and Welfare Committee, Krause served on the Measures and Benefits Committee, and Nichelson served on the Organizing and Legislation Committee. These committees, and others, meet during the Convention to discuss the various Recommendations submitted by the International Executive Board, as well as the Resolutions submitted by Local officers and Player Conferences. They then give recommendations to the body on what to do – to adopt, to refer to the IEB, or to defeat the particular Recommendation or Resolution. These can also be amended, and the committees can submit substitute Recommendations or Resolutions.  There is lively debate on many of them, and a parliamentarian is on hand to help the International President keep things in order.  You can read all about what happened with each Recommendation and Resolution in the current issue of the International Musician. 

In all, there were 215 delegates representing 132 Locals, 13 non-voting delegates representing the five Player Conferences of the AFM (ICSOM, ROPA, OCSOM, RMA, and TMA), as well as the International Officers and about 30 staff members of the AFM. Besides the business of the Convention described above, there are also many guest speakers, especially on the first day, before most the committees have had a chance to do any work (the Finance and Law committees have to show up a few days before to begin their work). These include representatives from the various royalty funds, the Music Performance Trust Fund, representatives from FIM, the international musicians union of which the AFM is a member, and representatives from other entertainment unions.  Particularly rousing was a speech given by Actor’s Equity President Kate Shindle. There was also a moving memorial service for all the former delegates and AFM officers and staff who had passed away since the last Convention in 2019.


Generating the most excitement and discussion at this particular Convention was the election of new International Officers and International Executive Board Members.  As many of you know, International President Ray Hair is retiring, as is International Vice-President Bruce Fife, and International Secretary-Treasurer Jay Blumenthal.  There were many tributes to them all given by the various speakers, they were all given Emeritus status, and Hair was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award.  There were two different slates of candidates running to replace them and for the IEB positions, as well as a few independent candidates for the IEB.  The results of the election were that Tino Gagliardi (President of Local 802 New York) was elected International President, Dave Pomeroy (President of Local 257 Nashville) was elected International Vice-President, Alan Willaert was re-elected International Vice-President from Canada, and Ken Shirk (Assistant to the International President) was elected International Secretary-Treasurer.  Re-elected to the International Executive Board were John Acosta (former President of Local 47 Los Angeles), Ed Malaga (President of Local 161-710 Washington DC), and Tina Morrison (President of Local 105 Spokane).  Newly elected to the IEB were two Canadians, Luc Fortin (President of Local 406 Montreal) and Dusty Kelly (Executive Director of Local 149 Toronto).  Two delegates to the AFL-CIO Convention were also elected – Mont Chris Hubbard (Secretary-Treasurer of Local 99 Portland), and Tracey Whitney (President of Local 618 Albuquerque).


Local 72-247 Delegates to the 102nd AFM Convention pose for a selfie with International President Ray Hair. Frederick Nichelson, Stewart Williams, Ray Hair, Ken Krause and Aaron Pino (left to right)


Prior to the Convention, on June 24 and 25, the Southern Conference of Locals took place in the same hotel. Williams and Pino attended; Pino serving on the Finance Committee, and Williams chairing the TEMPO committee, which raises money for the AFM’s Political Action Committee. This conference featured presentations by various AFM staff members on the state of the AFM, as well as a Race and Labor presentation.  There were also several small discussion groups that formed on various topics which resulted in very productive conversations, which were then reported on to the body. The new officers for the next two years for the Southern Conference were also elected: Aaron Lack (President of Local 433Austin ) was elected President, Jessica Kunttu (Secretary-Treasurer of Local 500 Raleigh) was elected Vice-President, and Jeff Apana (Secretary-Treasurer of Local 655 Miami) was elected Secretary-Treasurer. After the close of that conference, we had the annual meeting of the Professional Musicians of Texas. This is an official Conference of the AFM, consisting of all the Locals that have jurisdiction in Texas. This is always a great opportunity to update each other on what is going on in the rest of the state, and share ideas.  Local 618 Albuquerque was welcomed as a new addition this year, and reports were given by all Locals involved. There was also an election of officers for the next year: Alex Navarro (President of Local 65-699 Houston) was elected President, Stewart Williams was elected Vice-President, and Aaron Pino was re-elected Secretary-Treasurer. 


I should also mention that the AFM is in a pretty decent place financially coming out of the pandemic, thanks to the leadership of International President Ray Hair’s administration, and that the recommendation from the IEB and the Finance Committee was that no per capita dues increase was necessary. All in all, it was a very busy but exciting week, with much talk about the future of our union, and organizing more new members. It is always exciting to participate in the governance of our union at the Convention, and all of your delegates thank you for electing us to serve.