November 13, 2020 - The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) has announced it will hold a Constitutional Referendum. For the first time in many years, the AGMA Constitution will be getting an update.
This Referendum is the culmination of more than a year of work by AGMA’s elected member-leaders, who have been working to revise and fix AGMA’s Constitution since last fall. On October 28, the AGMA Board of Governors approved and recommended to AGMA’s membership the “Board of Governors Revision,” a comprehensive rewrite of the AGMA constitution designed to improve AGMA’s governance, increase transparency, and make AGMA’s foundational document more accessible to the membership.
The Board of Governors Revision focuses on transparency, justice and equality, democracy, clarity, modernization and legal compliance, and includes many exciting changes for AGMA’s members. The Revision revises AGMA’s election structure to ensure that every eligible member of AGMA can run for AGMA’s Board of Governors. The Revision creates “at-large” seats for every AGMA geographic Area and for AGMA’s non-resident artists, ensuring that AGMA’s governing body is representative of its entire membership. The Revision changes AGMA’s definition of “active member in good standing,” to include its new members who are still paying off their union initiation fee. Finally, the Revision includes a new Article on Justice and Equality, underscoring AGMA’s commitment to eliminate racism, sexism, and other discrimination from our workplaces.
On Monday, November 16, every AGMA member in good standing will be sent a ballot—by mail or email—to vote in a referendum on changes to the Constitution. On this ballot, members will have a choice to vote for the Board of Governors Revision, (a complete revision of the Constitution developed by a Constitutional Working Group comprised of members of the Administration and Policy Committee and Executive Council, and reviewed, revised, and recommended by the Board of Governors); the “Petition Amendments,” (a set of amendments to AGMA’s existing Constitution submitted to AGMA by a petition signed by roughly 50-70 AGMA members), or for neither set of changes. Additionally, members will be asked to vote on an increase in dues by raising and then eliminating the dues cap, along with a reduction in the initiation fee proposed by the petitioners.
If either the Board Revisions or the Petition Amendments receive the majority of the vote, they will go into effect.
Unlike the Board’s Revision, the alternative Petition Amendments won’t fix the major structural problems in our Constitution. The Petition Amendments include a proposed dues cap increase that would substantially increase dues for many AGMA members. AGMA’s elected leadership rejected recommending such a change in their Constitutional Revision because they do not believe that now, during the COVID-19 crisis, is the time to impose a dues increase.
“AGMA members deserve a Constitution that is transparent; one that reflects our values; clearly spells out our rights and obligations; allows all eligible members to run for office, and creates the foundation for a brighter future for our Union. The Board’s Revision provides this. We urge you to reject the dues cap increase and vote to approve the Board of Governors Revision,” reads AGMA’s ballot statement.
On Thursday, November 12, AGMA hosted a full-membership webinar about its upcoming Constitutional Referendum. The recording is available to watch here.
AGMA members can expect an email this Sunday, November 15, from Global Election Services that will help prepare them for completing their ballot that will arrive electronically or via email the following day. Every AGMA member, and the public at large, has access to all relevant information regarding the referendum. AGMA encourages all AGMA Artists to take a deep dive into all the publicly available, detailed resources posted on AGMA’s Constitutional Referendum webpage.