AFM-EPF Trustees Must Declare Support for Butch Lewis Now

The Select Committee on Multiemployer Pensions is now crafting a legislative solution to the multiemployer pension crisis. At last week’s hearing, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) stated that he and the Chairman of the Select Committee, Orrin Hatch (R-UT), had agreed that beginning this week, their respective staffs would be empowered to “get serious about negotiations,” to enable the Select Committee to “get close to real solutions in September.” Hatch added that the Select Committee will come together on a bill and that it “would be to no one’s liking."

If you have been following Jonathan Kantor’s blog, The Butch Lewis Watch, you are aware that Butch Lewis is under attack from powerful Washington insiders and lobbyists, and that lawmakers are listening to them. At one recent hearing, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WVA) flatly said that unless plan trustees, union leaders, workers, and retirees “make your voice heard” Butch Lewis will fail.

In short, we are at a critical point in Washington. It is time for all the stakeholders, plan trustees, union leaders, workers and retirees to come together and declare their support for the Butch Lewis Act as loudly as possible.

That includes the trustees of the AFM-EPF. They need to get off the fence and advocate strongly for Butch Lewis. But the trustees are not doing that. They only say that there is an urgent need for Congress to act in a “bipartisan” fashion and that any solution must be “fair” to the musicians.

Ray Hair, as President of the AFM, has said he supports the Butch Lewis Act. But Ray Hair, as a trustee of the AFM-EPF, does not.

The Washington lobbying group working actively to undermine the Butch Lewis Act is the NCCMP, which purports to represent multiemployer pension plans.  When examining the long-term relationship between the AFM-EPF and the NCCMP it is easy to see a number of serious conflicts of interest that could easily hurt AFM members.  Long-serving AFM-EPF trustee and former Local 802 President Bill Moriarity is currently on the Steering Committee of the NCCMP, click here to see his bio. Christopher Brockmeyer, the long-serving employer-side trustee co-chair is currently on the Board of Directors of the NCCMP, click here to see his bio. The AFM-EPF is currently paying the NCCMP $27,500 per year in dues. Normal membership dues are $8250, but AFM-EPF chooses to pay more so it can be a “Sustaining Member” of NCCMP. According to NCCMP’s website (see link here) “Sustaining Members are primarily national funds that support the goals and activities of the NCCMP and wish to take a more active role in determining the direction of the organization with respect to policy and regulatory issues under consideration."Of all the ways our trustees have wasted our hard-earned pension dollars, this one may be the hardest to swallow. The AFM-EPF trustees' support of the NCCMP as they actively undermine the Butch Lewis Act, is a clear conflict of interest.

Our trustees must immediately do the following:

  • Strongly declare their support for the Butch Lewis Act
  • Disassociate themselves fromNCCMP’s proposals
  • Cut ties with NCCMP

AFM musicians across the country now know that in 2014 our trustees went behind our backs and worked with the NCCMP in successfully pursuing the passage of MPRA. In 2018 they appear to be doing it again. Let’s not let it happen a second time.

Tools for contacting your representatives in Congress can be found here.