The Latest Development In AFM-EPF Pension Headaches

On 1/17/2017 we examined the growing problems within the American Federation of Musicians & Employers’ Pension Fund (AFM-EPF) that led to the Board of Trustees to send a letter to plan members explaining how the fund has suffered since the economic downturn and their plan for recovery. Since then, that letter does not appear to have assuaged anxiety among some AMF-EPF members.

Adaptistration People 135A group of AMF member musicians met in New York City on 4/19/2017 to discuss their concerns about the pension and shortly thereafter, the website www.musiciansforpensionsecurity.com was launched.

The site, which does not list any member names nor formal representatives, levies several accusations against the Trustees and Fund managers and purports several specific courses of action.

At the time this article was published, the Musicians For Pension Security (MPS) has yet to respond to a request about membership and names of representative(s). This article will be updated when/if that information is provided.

UPDATE: the MPS website now lists what it defines as leading members: Adam Krauthamer, Carol Zeavin, Anja Wood, Pete Donovan, Sylvia D’Avanzo, Marilyn Coyne, Elise Frawley, and senior policy and legal advisor, Jon Kantor.

In the meantime, it appears that MFPS is the result of action on the part of an anonymous group of musicians from Los Angeles (AFM Local 47). A blog post from 4/11/2017 at the site responsible47.com published an entry that references MFPS by name along with the NYC meeting on 4/19/2017:

MEMBERSHIP FINALLY GETTING MAD –

THE AFM-EPF PENSION FUND IS IN CRISIS

MUSICIANS FOR PENSION SECURITY (NEW YORK)

website will launch on April 19

Our pension benefits could be significantly cut…
forever Fund Trust witness are preparing a plan to drastically cut our
pension benefits and file an application with the Treasury Department
under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (MPRA)

This could happen as early are this summer

If that plan is approved, the same Trustees and financial managers
who have run our pension into the ground will still be managing the fund.

WE NEED TO TAKE ACTION BEFORE THEY DO!

MUSICIANS FOR PENSION SECURITY, a newly formed pension
awareness group, is hosting an informal talk and discussion –
colleague to colleague, friend to friend. We are as concerned
as you are and are eager to share what we’ve learned.

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 – 5:30-7:30

St. Malachi’s – The Actor’s Chapel
236 W. 49th Street (Between Broadway and 8th Avenue. (New York)

We’ll take a closer look at the group’s claims and supporting material as well as solicit a response from Fund Trustees and AFM President Ray Hair as developments continue.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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