President’s Message

May 26, 2011

(from the AFM Local 166 newsletter)

Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country

-John F. Kennedy, Inaugural address, January 20, 1961

It was a defining moment in what we, as Americans, should be committed to as a society. It foreshadowed the Peace Corps, the Civil Rights Act, the Social Security Act of 1965 (Medicare) and many other reforms (some good and some not so good) within our society.

In the past several months, Wisconsin has undergone many tumultuous times, great strife and conflict through the actions of our new Governor and the new Legislature. The removal of collective bargaining rights of public workers, while not directly affecting contracts with this Union and Local, has tremendously impacted the lives of members of AFM Local 166. Our members are teachers, computer programmers, office workers, municipality workers and all kinds of “State” workers in their day jobs. This along with the economic recession has made it a very tough life for the members of AFM Local 166 to make any sort of living working in the music industry.

When asked, we responded in support of our members and brothers and sisters in AFSCME, MTI, AFT and other public sector unions by providing music for the pep rallies at the Masonic Center prior to the Capital rallies, joining Actor’s Equity and IATSE in a march to the Capital and performing in impromptu inspirations throughout the protests at the Capital.

Scales: How many times have we been asked to play for free, promotion, advertising, or some other kind of incentive? We all play them. We all know we shouldn’t. So what should we do?

The race to the bottom needs to stop. The bottom is our scales and not below. The scale system, in the freelance sense, is a minimum fee that should be paid for the type of event or venue and hours worked for the musician. The idea is that you should negotiate for a larger fee than the minimum scale. Scales are set by the membership of this local after research, proposal and motion prior to and at a General Membership meeting.

Interested in serving on the Scales Committee? Contact me at

Meetings: Uh-oh, he wants us to be at meetings?! I’m out!

I hate long boring meetings as much as you do. Libations and eats are always used as a ploy but they really never seem to work. What about the location? It’s difficult to get to the office in Waunakee so what is a better place? Downtown? Near West/East? Verona? La Crosse? Stevens Point? Platteville? (Yes they are all in our local).

Got ideas? – I want to know what you think so send me a note:

So now I ask you (yes ask): not only what can your local do for you, but also, what is something YOU can do for your local?

I hope to see you soon.

Brian Whitty – President AFM Local 166