Playing a Pivotal Part in the Music Industry
Local 99 is an organization of over 500 musicians in Oregon and SW Washington; the American Federation of Musicians comprises over 60,000 musicians in the United States and Canada. With those numbers comes solidarity and strength.
Over the years we have achieved many things to improve musicians’ lives, above and beyond the union contracts we negotiate to create good pay and working conditions for musicians. Together, we can continue to make our government and society work better for musicians and working people.
Current Local 99 Campaigns:
- Fair Trade Music — A group of Portland musicians organized by the Portland Musicians Union to improve working conditions and establish pay standards for local club musicians. It has since expanded to other cities, with chapters across the country, L.A. to D.C.; learn more at http://www.fairtrademusicpdx.org/
- Independent Contractor Rules — The State of Oregon is making changes to the laws governing independent contractors. These changes may affect how musicians do business and pay taxes. Local 99 is working to ensure that musicians are represented in the lawmaking process.
- Universal Health Care — Local 99 is an organizational member of Health Care for All Oregon.
Current AFM Campaigns:
Past Local 99 Victories:
- Musician Loading Zones — We successfully advocated for a pilot project opening some loading zones in Portland to musicians. The pilot project has been extended, and we are working to expand the sites. Learn more here: https://pdxmusicloading.com/
- OLCC/All Ages Shows — Because young audiences are vital to our members’ careers, Local 99 members helped create a new type of OLCC license that allows music venues to host more all-ages shows.
- 100% Smoke Free Workplaces — Health concerns and damage to expensive musical equipment were among the reasons that Local 99’s members voted overwhelmingly to participate in this campaign to create a Smoke Free workplace.
- Minor Entertainers — When the Oregon Liquor Control Commission took action to prohibit minor entertainers from working in alcohol serving establishments, the members of Local 99 decided to stand up for the young musicians and worked for 2 years to successfully overturn the rule.
- KZME — Local 99 worked in conjunction with Metro East Community Media and a host of others to create a new radio station featuring local and regional music. KZME has been broadcasting on 107.1 FM since winter/spring ‘10.
Past AFM victories:
- The Music Performance Trust Fund — through negotiations with the recording industry, the AFM created a system where industry-contributed royalties from record sales flow into a fund to employ musicians for admission-free, live, public performances. When the MPTF began disbursal in 1947, it became the largest single employer of live musicians in the world.
- The National Endowment for the Arts — AFM advocacy helped create this independent government agency, and helps keep it strong: In 2021, the NEA budget was $167 million.
- Copyright Protection for Performance Rights — The AFM participated in the 1961 Rome Convention which developed an international treaty extending copyright protection to performance rights. Currently, only the US, China, and North Korea have not signed on. Therefore, U.S. musicians and record companies receive no performance royalties from terrestrial AM/FM radio. (That will change if Congress passes the American Music Fairness Act.)
- Multi-employer Pension Fund Reform — Pension Funds that rely on contributions from many employers (like the AFM-Employers Pension Fund) were at severe risk of failure; the AFM worked with other unions to successfully pass the Butch Lewis Act as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.
You can read more about the history of the AFM here: https://www.afm.org/125-years-afm-history/
Local 99 is part of many coalitions and federations, in the world of labor, music advocacy, and beyond:
- Portland Theatrical Federation — a federation of unions that represent entertainment workers in the Portland area, including actors, musicians, stage crew, and camera operators.
- Portland Jobs with Justice — a coalition of more than 100 labor organizations and community groups dedicated to protecting the rights of working people and supporting community struggles to build a more just society.
- Northwest Oregon Labor Council | Oregon and National AFL-CIO — unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO (the union of unions) have state and regional bodies that keep our locals working together.
- musicFIRST Coalition — a coalition of the music community that supports paying music creators when their work is played on any platform.
- Health Care for All Oregon
Local 99 also participates in our community through a number of programs and activities.
MEAP – Music Education Assistance Project
Local 99 members created the Music Education Assistance Project, which provides scholarships for private instruction to musically gifted students in financial need.
Music Performance Trust Fund
The Music Performance Fund supports free music performances. Local 99 can help you get co-funding for your event, bringing live music to your community and a paycheck to the band.
Labor’s Community Service Agency
Local 99 supports LCSA, which provides emergency relief for union members in need. Local 99 knows that union members have each other’s backs—an injury to one is an injury to all.
Local 99 supports candidates for office that understand and support musicians’ issues, and educates elected officials on the unique way musicians are impacted by policy. With a strong union, we can elect candidates that will make a positive difference in our lives.
Support the AFM’s political efforts
The AFM has a legislative action fund and a political director to lobby for candidates and legislation that support musician and labor rights—the fund is supported through donations; no union dues are utilized. You can learn more and donate on the TEMPO website.
Local 99 does not have a political action fund. If you want to get involved, you can join the Local 99 Political Committee—contact the Local 99 President for more information.