Click on the questions below for answers to some Frequently Asked Questions:

I am a former member. How can I rejoin?

There is a reinstatement fee of $20 + regular quarterly dues of $48. If you were expelled for not paying your dues less than 10 years ago then you need to pay back dues for the quarter you were expelled (one quarter only) as well. If you were expelled more than 10 years ago, you would not owe back dues. Musicians who resigned in good-standing only need to pay the quarter dues of $48. Everyone reapplying is encouraged to fill out a new application so that the office has your most current information:
It can be found here.

If I join the Union, will I only be allowed to take “Union” gigs?

The union has a job referral service and sometimes members are called directly for last minute work. If you got work this way, those would be “Union” gigs. You are not limited to working this way; we want you to work as much as you can. You are at liberty to take any job you please. To help protect musicians, the Union encourages members to file a union “Single Engagement” contract. By doing that, the job becomes a “Union gig” and you are protected should anything go awry. If you work without a Union contract you work at your own risk with no back up from the Union.

If I join the Union, am I required to work with union musicians only?

Yes, if you get a gig from the referral service or directly through the Union. No, for just about all other types of work.

What kind of Union jobs are out there for musicians in the Seattle area?

Any job can be a Union job if you file a Single Engagement contract, but the following organizations have negotiated collective bargaining agreements with Local 76-493:

  • Theatre: 5th Ave, Paramount, Village, Act, Seattle Repertory Theatre
  • Orchestra: Tacoma Symphony
  • Dance musician accompanist: Cornish College of the Arts

If I join the Union, will I only be able to take gigs that pay Union scale?

No, the union has a minimum wage scale that we recommend, voted on and approved by the membership. The wage scale establishes a minimum wage that sets wages at a fair standard for our region. Wages are determined by three things: how many players; how many hours played; what sort of job/venue it is. Members often charge above the minimum scale for weddings and casuals. If members feel it is appropriate to play lower than scale, they are encouraged to request permission of the Board. The Union recognizes that there are always exceptions to playing for scale and the Board generally grants these requests.

Who is on the Board?

The Executive Board is composed of elected representatives and three elected officers. Six musicians represent collective bargaining units and “At Large” representatives, speaking for the general membership. The Board develops policy for the Local; Officers make the day-to-day decisions of running the Local. Board meetings are the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month, meeting at 10:00 am at the Union Hall. Membership is welcome to attend. Please contact the Board if you have an important issue that you feel needs to be discussed.

If I join the Union, will I be fined for taking Non-Union recording/performing work?

The AFM potentially could levy fines for members working non-union recordings, but in the last 15 years no charges have ever been filed on any member by Local 76-493.

Why doesn’t the Union audition musicians before they are allowed to be members like some other locals?

Historically, unions did audition musicians but the industry has changed and now the local has an open door policy.

Will the Union dictate what I can or cannot charge for private lessons?

No, the union has a teaching minimum wage in our Wage Scale that we recommend. It is suggested but not enforced. (see #3)

Can the Union help me negotiate a contract with an employer?

Yes. Any member can ask for help with negotiating a Single Engagement contract.

How many people do I need to “organize” my workplace with the Union?

Two.

I worked for a Purchaser without a Union contract and have not been paid for my services, can the Union help?

Yes, if you are a member and have a contract filed. Yes, if you are a member but did not file a contract, but without any of our legal resources and in a limited capacity. No, if you are not a member, but we can offer you advice for the next time.

I played in a Non-Union recording session 6 weeks ago and have not been paid. Can the Union help?

No, but if this had been a Union recording session you would be due late fees and have the full resources of the AFM available to you.

I played in a Non-Union film recording session and now a CD of that soundtrack is for sale in the stores. Shouldn’t I be getting paid extra for that?

Probably not, but if it was a Union job and depending upon the new use media you would be receiving a session fee, “new use” payment and possibly AFM residuals. For further information, please call the union office.

I am already a member of another AFM Local, do I have to join the Seattle Local too?

If you are working under a CBA that is administered by Local 76-493 the answer is Yes. If you are a freelance musician who has moved into our jurisdiction you are also encouraged to join. If you are in 3 or more locals you would receive an AFM “per capita” rebate of $56 for each local over 2. Local 1000 of the AFM is local for touring musicians.

Why do Non-Union members get hired over Union members for jobs that work under a Union negotiated CBA?

Employers can hire whomever they want regardless of Union status, however, once hired under a CBA, musicians must join the Union after 31 days or elect agency fee status.

What is agency fee status?

Agency Fee Status applies when a musician meets these requirements:

  1. Is working under an AFM collective bargaining agreement
  2. Pay all fees and dues in an equivalent amount to the fees and dues paid by union members
  3. Did not complete a local union application and did not sign an oath of allegiance to the AFM

I always respond to the referrals but never get the gigs. Why is that?

The referrals are based on a first come first served basis and the client makes the decision of who to hire. They have often also contacted other musicians and websites along with ours. If you feel like you need help promoting yourself, the Union will help members with advice about your promotion packet and website.

Does a Union contract guarantee that I will get paid at least Union scale and on time?

Yes, if the contract is filed at the Union.

Why are there Union orchestras in the Seattle area that don’t pay Union scale?

Each CBA has separately negotiated wages and working conditions. These uniquely reflect the needs and abilities of each organization to pay the employee musicians.

How do I know what “scale pay” is for any particular gig?

Wage scale pay for musicians and leaders is listed here. Leaders receive a premium in addition to scale wages.

Can the Musicians Union help me with border crossings (Canada) and gigs?

Yes, the AFM has an expedited method to aid U.S. AFM members. You can find more information here.