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Im In! – for AFM International Executive Board

Dear Friends and Delegates,

Pete Vriesenga

Pete Vriesenga

I write to you today asking for your vote and support for my candidacy for election to the AFM’s International Executive Board. Most of you know me as president of the Denver Local since 1995. Many also know me as an AFM officer who stands up and speaks up with researched opinions, openly and respectfully.

Historically, the IEB is a rather silent and elusive body. This does not make for healthy democracy. Always in the 11th hour prior to a Convention, the floodgates of pent-up sentiment suddenly break loose in the form of communications by the truckload. My apologies for adding to your pile, but I am committing to you now that I will listen, research, and then report while taking early positions on these critical matters.

Our bad habit of sweeping controversial matters under the rug extends well beyond the IEB. As a member of the former AFM Futures Committee (2003-05) I faced a wall of resistance against my modest proposal for a joint venture recording agreement. AFM orchestras with $100 million budgets were already adopting this model, but extending this same right to Indie musicians and small touring bands didn’t sit well with established interests. My remaining option was to present a Minority Report on the subject at a meeting of the full committee in Las Vegas. Absolute silence followed … not even one question was asked.

Persistence ultimately paid off. My resolution for Joint Venture recording was adopted unanimously at the 2007 Western Conference. Months later, with support of the Conference and multiple Locals, my Resolution #75 passed at the 2007 Convention. This historic passage for Joint Venture recording paved the way for AFM’s Freelance Services Division to now present you with an online distribution system for member recordings.

The AFM is strong and it’s here to stay, and we would be doing our union and membership a disservice to pay too much attention to those who believe otherwise. I don’t buy into the personal attacks or the doomsday view of our future that is so pervasive in AFM politics.

Yes, I do jump when a committee chair or member of one of our major bargaining units calls on me for assistance.  But, I also respond in the same manner when I receive a call from a member who hasn’t played a gig in months. As taught by the George Meany Center for Labor Studies, strong and vibrant unions extend equal respect to their most distinguished and most humble citizens. This directly contrasts much of the chatter and division that we hear about working musicians, small vs. large locals and who pays more dues. This is a core principle that I live by because it translates to strength and unity among all members who are called upon to stand together.

I would be honored to have your vote.

In Solidarity,

Pete Vriesenga
President, Denver Local 20-623

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