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American Federation of Musicians

The American Federation of Musicians is the largest entertainment union in the world, representing professional musicians in the fields of broadcasting, commercials, films, TV, video production, symphonic and Theatre work as well as casual and club date engagements. Internationally the AFM was formed in 1886, with the first Canadian Local being chartered in Toronto in 1901. There are two Locals in Saskatchewan, Regina and Saskatoon. Each Local represents roughly one-half of the province, based on an imaginary line drawn through Davidson and Yorkton, and offices are maintained in both cities. The Regina Local was chartered on February 12, 1912, as the Musicians Protective Union, AFM Local 446, Regina City; it was re-chartered on January 1, 1996, under the Regina Musicians Association as a part of the American Federations Centennial celebrations, although it has operated under this name for many years.

Both charters hang in the Local 446 office, which represents the members of the Regina Symphony Orchestra, Canada’s longest continuously performing symphony, negotiating on their behalf and administering their contracts. Additionally the Local represent musicians working with CBC and other networks doing national programming as well as during contract disputes and cancellations; it also advises on many aspects of the music business and provides access to low-cost instrument insurance and an excellent pension plan.

In recent years, Local 446 has again become more active in the trade union movement through its affiliation with the Regina and District Labour Council and the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, and has been very active with other arts organization in encouraging the provincial government to establish enabling legislation for Status of the Artist (the first anglophone province to do so). As well, Local 446 is affiliated with the Canadian Conference of Musicians and the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, and through this organization with the Fédération Internationale des Musiciens.

Brian Dojack

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