YES, We Have a Musician's Union

Posted: Thursday, May 13, 2010 by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

For those interested, there is a musician's union here in Sault Ste. Marie.  The exact title is the American Federation of Musicians or AFM.  Here are the details.

Local 276, American Federation of Musicians
Sault Ste Marie, ON
Chartered: January 1st, 1918
PO Box 641 Stn Main
Sault Ste Marie, ON P6A 5N2
Phone: 705-254-2210
Fax: 705-253-2140

Office Hours
10:00 Am to 3:30 PM SatBy Appointment Mon thru Fri @ 254-2210

Dues if Paid Annually: $125.00
Dues if Paid Semi-Annually : $75.00
Local 276 Initiation Fee (one-time): $10.00
Federation Initiation Fee (one-time): $65.00 
Why do you need the union?  Well, I'll tell you from my own experiences which is only a part of what they do.
For years I played with bands that did shows in the United States.  Playing in the U.S. is not as simple and loading your bongos in the truck and going to a U.S. bar and play.  There is red tape, and a lot of it.  The AFM is experienced in understanding that red tape and helping you through it so your gigging over the border can be fun and hopefully stress free.   In the days I was playing in the U.S.  (pre 9/11)  the AFM got my band members P2 entertainment visas to legally play in the States.  These forms dealt with contracts with venues but also background checks and equipment rosters along with tax info and more.   AFM did a thorough job of making sure you were totally free and clear to play and receive money from your gigs.   Bottom line is that you need experience in dealing with jobbing in the U.S. or other countries for that matter and you don't want the headaches of trying to do it yourself.  You're in it for the music, not the politics.   Yes, some have done it themselves and I've known a few that tried and they lost a ton of money and didn't get to play in the U.S.   At the time I was using a P2 visa, which was for over 6 years,  our paperwork was complete and clear within a months time where a band I knew doing it on their own  still had not heard a word after 6 months.  You can't book gigs over the boarder if you don't know if you can get across in time.   Being part of the AFM let me focus on my job at hand which was managing my band and playing music.  

The AFM can help you with information on contracts along with copyrights.  They will also explain things until you understand what you're getting into. ;-)  All of this does come with a cost and that is union dues.  It's a yearly fee and if you're gigging steady,  get involved.   You won't regret it. 

glen "the freq"