What is Organizing?
Organizing is people coming together and building power to make real change in their lives. Through face-to-face conversations and a campaign, we build strength to overcome obstacles and opposition.
In traditional union organizing, employees join together to improve their working conditions and have their union recognized by their employer. Musicians, sometimes not legally considered employees, often organize in more innovative ways. Fair Trade Music is a great example of musicians using basic organizing principles to improve their lives.
After the initial campaign is over, mobilizing to secure a good first contract starts. Union contracts are legally enforceable documents that are generally much stronger than individual contracts or personal service agreements. Organizing never stops. Building our union in our work places and planning contract campaigns for expiring agreements is ongoing.
Musicians ability to make a living is threatened as never before. The music industry continues reaping huge profits while technological advances transform our work and how we are compensated.
We face substandard compensation for streaming, outsourcing and growing pressure to play for tips, for free or even “pay to play” at some venues. The employers are consolidating their power—and so should we.
Unity among musicians brings creates the power we need to achieve our goals.
AFM’s organizing strategy relies on the direct leadership of musicians partnering with labor and community organizations to build the power we need to win. While labor law was established to protect our right to organize, employers have found ways to undermine these laws and our rights. Working with trained and experienced organizers helps ensure success—sometimes against great odds. But most important for a successful campaign is an active group of musicians willing to stand together.
Before beginning a campaign, it is essential to contact us to take the initial steps towards a winning strategy.