Category Archives: Updates

AFM Officers’ Training

In response to Resolution No. 1 from the 2016 AFM Convention, which called for a training and education program to assist Local Officers, the AFM has created a three-part officer education program:

(1) Nuts-and-bolts of operating a Local, which will be presented via several webinars during the year;

(2) leadership training, which will be presented at a central location twice a year; and

(3) skill-building and topic-specific presentations, to be presented in the two days prior to each of the five main regional conferences.

The skill-building and topic-specific sessions prior each conference take advantage of the fact that Local representatives will already be traveling to the conference. The AFM will be presenting the first set of the skill-building and topic-specific sessions just prior to the Canadian Conference at the Conference hotel in Hamilton, Ontario, on August 9 and 10, 2017.

For more info click here.

Unpaid Mechanical and Video Royalties Canadian Class Action Settlement

The claims period for the Group III Items, which are those items released between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2012 will commence on April 3, 2017.

In order to facilitate the individual class process for class members for the Medium- and High-Value Group III items, CSI will make the Medium- and High-Value Group III information available on a searchable web-based system (the “Claims Website”). The Claims Website can be accessed from CSI’s website at www.cmrrasodrac.ca

Claims for Medium-Value items, which are those items with a value between $1,000 and $2,500, must be filed on or before October 3, 2017 while claims for High-Value Items, which are those items with a value of $2,500 and above, must be filed by April 3, 2018.

 Once an ownership claim has been established and verified, CSI will facilitate payment to the class member. Claims will be reviewed and processed in a timely manner following the conclusion of the claims period.

If you have questions about the claims process, please visit the Claims Website at www.cmrrasodrac.ca, or contact CSI by e-mail at pendingsettlementinquiries@cmrrasodrac.ca. If you would like more information about the case or would like to view a copy of the Court-approved Notice of the Commencement of the Group III Claims Process, please visit www.pendinglistsettlement.com.

PSA on the Actor’s Fund of Canada

The AFC is pleased to announce a Public Service Announcement on The AFC – the lifeline for Canada’s entertainment industry – is now airing on CBC TV and CBC.ca. The 60-second spot, which showcases how even the most celebrated performers and technicians can find themselves needing help after an unforeseen event upends their lives, can also be viewed here. The PSA would not have been possible without the amazing generosity of the CBC, who provided the talent and resources to shoot and produce the video, and donated valuable airtime to let Canadians know about the important work The AFC does. The AFC would also like to thank Mirvish Productions, the National Ballet of Canada, the Royal Conservatory of Music, Frantic Films and IATSE for their generous assistance in the production of the PSA, and all the performers and technicians who graciously donated their time and talent. To learn more about the PSA or The AFC, please visit AFChelps.ca.

Message from AFM President – Travel Ban

This week I’m in Washington, DC meeting with lawmakers on a wide range of issues including the impact of the recent executive order on immigration and its impact on musicians.

Widely referred to as the “travel ban,” the order puts “extreme vetting” procedures in place for immigrants traveling to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days, indefinitely halts all immigration from Syria and suspends all refugee immigration into the United States for 120 days.

Many AFM members, whether permanent U.S. residents (e.g., green card holders) or our Canadian bothers and sisters, regularly travel in and out of the United States for work. The implementation of the travel ban has caused uncertainty and confusion among AFM members who travel internationally. That’s why we are currently working with Missouri’s Congressional delegation to help ensure the safe return home for St. Louis Symphony Orchestra musicians, who are scheduled to tour Spain next week.

For decades, AFM has consulted with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on applications by foreign musicians for O and P visas to work in the United States. For AFM’s Canadian members, we have been working diligently with members of Congress to streamline and shorten visa-processing times, but the travel ban could delay our efforts to bring these processing times into focus.

We will continue working hard together with other organizations to make our voices heard on Capitol Hill to protect the interests of all musicians. Musicians standing together have the power.

In Unity,

Ray Hair

AFM International President

ECMA and CFM announce new collaborative partnership

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — January 19, 2017- Toronto, Canada

The East Coast Music Association (ECMA) and the Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) are happy to announce a new three-year partnership that puts to rest an ongoing dispute brought to light in 2016.

Over two days of negotiations, both sides have agreed to new collaborative terms they are certain are fair and beneficial to their respective memberships.

“This dispute was never about the ECMA not compensating musicians appropriately,” says Andy McLean, Executive Director of the ECMA. “We felt the 20-year-old successor agreement was unfair to the majority of our members, and were happy to work in collaboration with the CFM to update the approach in a way that recognizes the current reality of independent musicians in the region.”

“We are pleased to have penned this three-year deal guaranteeing fees and benefits for musicians, which we see as a positive step for the East Coast music community,” says Alan Willaert, AFM Vice President from Canada.

All existing contracts for ECMAs in 2017 are still being honoured and all performing musicians will see no change to their fees.

As a result of the agreement, Andy McLean, Chair of the Board of Directors, Dean Stairs, and the ECMA as an organization will be removed from the American Federation of Musicians’ (AFM) International Unfair list.

The East Coast Music Awards 2017 Festival & Conference takes place in Saint John, NB from April 26-30, 2017.

CFM Media Contact:

Victoria Lord

VLPR Inc.

416-484-9047 | victoria@vlpr.com

ECMA Media Contact:

Trevor Murphy

Pigeon Row

902-880-2606 | trevor@pigeonrow.com

CFM Initiates Action Against East Coast Music Association

CFM Initiates Action Against East Coast Music Association

ECMA in Labour Dispute with Musicians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Toronto, ON December 21, 2016 – Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM, the Canadian National office of the AFM) has entered into a labour dispute with the East Coast Music Association (ECMA), which has offices in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

For nearly 20 years, an agreement has existed between the parties to ensure musicians received at least recommended minimum fees and pension. There were also specific parameters set around what performances could be recorded for broadcast and streaming, with time and use limitations.

The ECMA is refusing to enter into a successor agreement. “Without a collective agreement in place, the musicians are not guaranteed reasonable fees. In addition, there would be no pension, and no language to prevent the ECMA from recording and exploiting the performances, anywhere and in perpetuity,” said Alan Willaert, Vice-President from Canada, American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada. “We have come to expect a higher standard of behavior from the ECMA, and this philosophical shift is not in the best interests of the musicians or their community.”

Numerous attempts have been made by the CFM to reach out to the ECMA leadership, who were finally served with a Notice to Bargain. However, the ECMA continues to stonewall. Therefore, as a last resort, the ECMA has been placed on the AFM’s International Unfair List, naming them as an entity that refuses to negotiate a fair and equitable agreement for performances in association with this year’s East Coast Music Week in Saint John, New Brunswick. This has the effect of prohibiting members from accepting engagements from any organization so designated.

The Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) is the Canadian National office of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM). The CFM provides vital resources to Canadian musicians at all stages of their careers, on any platform, from live concert to recorded performance, broadcast and film scoring. The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) is comprised of 200 local offices across the United States and Canada, collectively representing a membership of approximately 80,000 professional musicians across the United States and Canada. The AFM/CFM has been representing the interests of U.S. and Canadian musicians for 120 years, as the representative of professional musicians in a broad range of collective bargaining and legislative actions. Just recently, the AFM celebrated its 100th Convention from June 20 – 24, 2016.

For more information, please visit us at www.cfmusicians.org | CFM on Twitter|CFM on Facebook.

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Victoria Lord, VLPR Inc.

T: 1-416-484-9047 | E: victoria@vlpr.com

USCIS INCREASES ARTIST PERMIT FEE:

December 15, 2016 last day to Submit P2 Applications under the Current Fee

As reported in late spring, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) proposed an increase to the O and P petition fees. AFM, along with is long-standing coalition of (US-based) non-profit arts organizations, aggressively lobbied against the implementation of any increase. Despite those concerted efforts, late last week USCIS announced a substantial (42%) increase on O’s and P’s, from $325USD to $460USD.

The AFM of course recognizes that this increase adds a significant burden to its Canadian members, musicians world-wide and to petitioners of artist permits such as the AFM.

On November 2nd USCIS is holding a teleconference of its recognized Stakeholders in the US non-profit arts sector. The position and arguments of the AFM and others will be to urge USCIS to respond to its current lack of quality in service, and, to press for vast improvements and consistency in processing times – especially now that USCIS has increased the fee.

To avoid paying the new fee at this time, please submit completed P2 applications to the AFM’s Canadian Office (CFM) ensuring receipt by that office no later than Monday, December 19, 2016. Applications received on or after December 20, 2016 will need to have the new fee ($460) included.

Also, please be reminded that at this time we are recommending 120 days/4 months processing time (unless filing premium processing). The above timeline is an estimate, which is subject to be increased or decreased by USCIS, with no requirement on USCIS to provide petitioners advance notice of changes to processing times. AFM’s P2 Administrative Team monitors USCIS processing progress weekly, in an effort to provide as solid a time line as possible.

While it may be hard to believe, especially considering the processing time and fees, but, for Canadians the USCIS artist visa process is much more simplified and less costly than it is for all other musicians across the globe, who enter the United States under the same permits.

For additional information and questions on the AFM’s lobbying initiatives to improve access to the U.S., or the AFM’s role as a petitioner of artist permits, please email Liana White, Executive Director AFM/CFM, lwhite@afm.org