By Garry Munn
Working in today’s world as a musician is difficult at best. We have so many problems to overcome and deal with. Then there is the problem of the bands that want to use you, but they don’t belong to “The Union”. Now the problem is yours to deal with. You must decide if you should stay an AFM member, or should you work in a band with non-members. We know that as an AFM/CFM member, the bylaws say you are not to work with non-members. Remember your “Oath of Obligation” that you swore to uphold the AFM bylaws when you joined.
When you are offered a gig by a non-member group, are you supposed to turn it down and see someone else get the gig? Lose the money that should have been yours because you decide to be a good member? The answer is simple, NO! We can work it out.
This is a matter that caused me a great deal of concern while I was President. I wanted to find a way for our members to cash in and play the gigs they were being offered and having to turn down by non-member bands. I researched the bylaws and found that if I could write a resolution and present it to the Convention Resolutions Committee and then get it passed by the delegates, we could do it. I went to work on a resolution and with the aid of our Canadian Office and a few other members, I drafted a proposal. It took two conventions to get it passed, but as of the 2007 convention we can work with non-members if we follow the rules.
The rules are fairly simple and any member can do it. You must getthe leader of the non-member band to agree to and sign an AFM standard form contract hiring your services. On this contract they become the purchaser and you become the Leader of you (the same as any single does). You must also charge the correct “Leaders Fee” for the jurisdiction that the gig is in. This information can be obtained either from our office or the areas local office. The contract must be filed with the local in the gigs jurisdiction prior to the engagement. On this contract, you are a single performer hired to fill a position. You now are working under a contract and are privileged all of the AFM services and protections. One very important item to remember is, you cannot be the leader of this band, do the booking of the dates and you cannot contract other musicians. You must also acquire a contract for each non-union gig you are to work on, or if you are being hired to work on several gigs with the same band, you can put all those dates on the one contract.
An important part of this contracting is, if the leader of the band defaults or cancels, he is responsible to pay you. You can also file your pension contributions (if you belong to Musicians Pension Fund of Canada). Your gigs you play under these contracts are all recognized by the AFM as legit gigs. This is another way that your dues are working for you.