What is AGMA?
The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), AFL-CIO is the labor union that represents opera and concert singers, production personnel and dancers at principal opera, concert and dance companies throughout the United States.
AGMA negotiates collective bargaining agreements for its members that provide them with these vital benefits: guaranteed salaries; rehearsal and overtime pay; regulated work hours; vacation and sick pay; access to low-cost health benefits; good-faith resolution of disputes; and protection of their legal and contractual rights.
How do I join AGMA?
Call AGMA’s Membership Department for information or an application. You can also download an application from our website.
If I have questions about a union-related problem, how do I reach AGMA’s office?
You may call the National Office at (212) 265-3687 or (800) 543-2462 or write to the general email address: AGMA@musicalartists.org. You may also go to AGMA’s website www.musicalartists.org and find contact information for various Area Representatives.
The National Office is open from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday.
What does it cost to join AGMA?
AGMA has a one-time-only Initiation Fee of $500. This tax-deductible fee may be paid by credit card or by check. The total fee must be paid by the time your income from AGMA engagements reaches $2000, or three years from the date of your first AGMA contract – whichever comes first.
Timely payment of Dues and Initiation Fees is each member’s individual responsibility. Failure to satisfy your financial obligations will result in the loss of your ‘Member in Good Standing’ status, and make you ineligible to work for an AGMA company. If you are in arrears for more than 90 days you may be suspended and incur a reinstatement fee of $250.00.
Basic dues are $78 a year, paid in December for the next calendar year. Working dues are 2% of the member’s earnings up to a maximum of $2000 a year, and can be deducted automatically by the companies for which you work if you sign a check-off authorization. If you don’t authorize a check-off, it is your responsibility to make payments directly to AGMA.
The provisions of the contract immediately protect all new members. All questions or inquiries regarding any aspect of membership classification, the Initiation Fee, Basic Dues, or Working Dues should be directed to the Membership Department at the National Office in New York.
How do AGMA’s Basic Dues compare to other unions?
AGMA’s Basic Dues are among the lowest in the entertainment industry.
How and where can I pay any dues I owe?
You may pay your dues online in the MyAGMA section of the website or call the National Office and pay over the phone using a MasterCard or Visa. You may also mail a check to the National Office.
How Are My Dues Used?
Dues are used to provide collective bargaining representation and related services to AGMA’s members. These services include:
The negotiation of collective bargaining agreements that protect the wages, hours and working conditions of professional singers, dancers and production personnel;
The enforcement of those contractual provisions and protections, and members’ other legal rights through the grievance process and through litigation in arbitrations, governmental agencies and the State and Federal courts;
The employment and retention of a highly trained professional staff to administer those contracts and to provide related services to members, and to comply with all federal and state laws regulating labor unions; and
The education and training of elected union officers, delegates, members of negotiating committees and the general membership in the collective bargaining process.
All related services necessary to protect the livelihood and welfare of the membership.
Approximately 97.9% of all dues are used for direct collective bargaining-related services. The remainder is used to assist organizations that, in turn, directly assist AGMA members, including the Actors Fund of America, the AGMA Relief Fund, and the AFL-CIO.
AGMA does not engage in political activity, support candidates or political parties, or undertake activities that do not have a direct collective benefit for members.
How does AGMA work? How is it structured?
AGMA is an entirely democratic and open union, governed by its members.
All union officers are artists chosen through elections in which every member in good standing is eligible to vote.
The Board of Governors, the governing body of AGMA, is responsible for final approval of all contracts, management of union funds, and for protecting all members from unfair or unsafe practices and conditions. Candidates for the Board or National Office must be active members who have worked under an AGMA collective bargaining agreement for an AGMA signatory in the category they seek to represent. Governors and Officers serve for a four-year term. The election of Governors is held biennially, while the election for National Officers is held every four years.
AGMA is a National Union, without a system of locals. To assure democratic representation, however, AGMA does have a structure of geographical areas for service on the Board of Governors. Many areas elect a Local Area Committee and an Area Chairperson. Members are encouraged to attend area meetings and other local area functions during the course of the year. A member's area is determined by their primary address on record at AGMA unless he or she designates a different area based on their pattern of employment. Within each area, the composition of the Board of Governors is based on a formula of members in good standing (paid to date) for each of the following categories: Soloist, Chorister, Dancer, Choreographer, Actor, Stage Manager and Stage Director.
Why should I join AGMA?
AGMA protects its members. We negotiate contracts, called collective bargaining agreements, that provide guaranteed wages, safe working conditions, rehearsal and overtime pay, regulated work hours, vacation and sick pay, resolution of disputes and protection against discrimination and abuse in any form. We enforce those contracts. We assure that our collective bargaining agreements provide for health insurance, pension coverage, and protection against unreasonable working conditions and unsafe work places, and we make sure that employers live up to their contractual obligations. We protect the legal, civil and artistic rights of our members, through an aggressive, litigious constant vigilance.
Does AGMA need you?
The strength of the Union is in its members. Your membership and participation directly impacts on the strength of AGMA’s bargaining power when it negotiates your contracts with your employer. It is very important to make your employer aware, through your active membership, that contract issues are important to you. Strong collective bargaining agreements can be maintained only through a strong membership.
In 28 right-to-work states (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) you have the choice of whether or not to be a dues-paying member of AGMA. If you chose not to join, you give up a number of rights, including the right to participate in the formulation of collective bargaining proposals, the right to be a member of your negotiating committee, the right to attend and participate in local AGMA meetings, the right to run for office and vote for candidates, and the right to participate in contract ratification votes.
For all other performers who work in the other states, payment of initiation fees and dues is mandatory and you cannot work for any AGMA signatory employer unless you satisfy those obligations. Working under an AGMA contract is a reciprocal privilege of timely payment of your dues and provides the funds with which AGMA negotiates and enforces your contracts and protects your rights, all at no additional cost to you.
What is a Delegate?
Throughout AGMA, the term "Delegate" is synonymous with "Steward," and the two words can be used interchangeably.
An AGMA Delegate is selected by his or her co-workers within a bargaining unit to represent and defend their interests pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The Delegate also serves as a liaison to the Area Committee, the Area Representative, and the National Office of the Union, reporting the concerns, needs, and desires of the Shop, or, in larger companies, the group within the Shop that the Delegate represents.
It is essential that there be a Delegate for every AGMA Shop.
What is your agreement with the Actors Equity Association?
A reciprocal arrangement allows AGMA members in good standing for at least one year and who worked under an AGMA contract to join Equity by virtue of membership in AGMA. In addition, both AGMA and Equity members in good standing are allowed to attend each union's auditions.
Additionally, a prospective AGMA member who is an active member in good standing of Equity may join AGMA as an affiliate union. In such a case, only half the Initiation Fee and $78 for annual Basic Dues are required ($328).
What Happens If I Don’t Pay My Dues?
Failure to satisfy your financial obligations will result in the loss of your ‘Member in Good Standing’ status, and make you ineligible to work for an AGMA company. If you are in arrears for more than 90 days you may be suspended and incur a reinstatement fee of $250.00.
To reinstate your Member in Good Standing status, members must pay all dues and fees owed at the time of reinstatement, plus a $250 reinstatement fee.
What is the AGMA Relief Fund and how can I get help if I need it?
The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) Relief Fund provides support and temporary financial assistance to members who are in need. AGMA contracts with The Actors Fund to administer this program nationally as well as to provide comprehensive social services.
Services include counseling and referrals for personal, family or work-related problems. Linkage is made to community resources for legal services, elder care, entitlement benefits and childcare. Workshops are offered on how to locate affordable housing, as well as on financial education and health insurance options.
Financial assistance is available for rent, utilities, mental health and medical care, as well as other basic living expenses. Grants are made case-by-case, based on need.
Members who need assistance should call the intake coordinator at:
East Coast - (212) 221-7300 or (800) 221-7303
Midwest - (312) 372-0989
West Coast (323) 933-9244 ext. 55
How can I contribute to the AGMA Relief Fund?
The AGMA Relief Fund depends on your generosity to assist our members in need. If you would like to make a donation please email Susan Davison, or call her at: (800) 543-2462.
How do I logon to my account? What is my username and password?
In order to access the MyAGMA (members only) section, click on the “Login to MyAGMA” button located in the top right corner of your page. This will direct you to your account.
In the user name field, type the first five letters of your last name (or your full last name if less than five letters) followed by your membership ID number. In the password field type your membership ID number. (Your membership ID number can be found on your invoice or on your AGMA membership card below your name.)
Name: John Smith ID Number: 12345
In the event your username does not work:
Please try logging in using just your membership ID number.
Name: John Smith ID: 12345
If you still cannot log in, click on the link provided under the log-in button that reads “Forgot your log-in information? Click Here”. This link will take you to a page that will prompt you for the necessary information we will need to provide your login/logon information. If you still experience a problem, please contact the National Office at (800) 543-2462 during our regular business hours (9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. EST) and ask for the Membership Department.