Québec musicians vote YES to disaffiliation from AFM

Montreal, June 11, 2014. – The June 2–8 referendum by the Guilde des musiciens et musiciennes du Québec (GMMQ) on disaffiliation from the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) was the widest consultation of Guild members since the Québec union was founded over 100 years ago. The 70% rate of participation during this referendum on the future of the GMMQ, in which 2028 of 2906 members in good-standing at the time of the vote cast their ballot, represents an unprecedented mobilization of professional musicians in Québec.

The question posed to members was clear and the response by Québec’s musicians was clear: 53.3% of voters want to see the Guild disaffiliate from the AFM.

“The Guild is at a crossroads; the status quo is no longer an optionWe are very pleased with the results of the referendum which confirms that a majority of Québec musicians no longer have faith in the current model of affiliation with the American federation and want a stronger association of Québec professional musicians that can represent them effectively and be fully empowered to negotiate working conditions adapted to Québec’s reality”, said Luc Fortin, guitarist and President of the GMMQ.

Despite a fierce campaign by the AFM to spread fear among Québec musicians once the referendum was announced, a strong majority of members clearly expressed their desire to see a fundamental change.

“Now that a majority of our members have pronounced themselves in favour of disaffiliation, the AFM must respect our fundamental right of freedom of association. The GMMQ’s Board of Directors will now have to undertake discussions with the AFM to ensure that the wishes expressed by our members during the consultative referendum will be carried out. Although 46.6% of participants voted against disaffiliation, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are all satisfied with the services provided by the AFM”, concluded Luc Fortin.

For years the Guild had tried unsuccessfully to negotiate better conditions in its affiliation with the AFM.  In organizing this referendum and consulting its members on the question of disaffiliation from the latter, the Guild was simply exercising its right of freedom of association.  The accounting firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton was mandated with overseeing the vote, which was conducted by email and regular post.

For more information on the issues at stake, see: http://referendum-guilde.com/en/

Click here to read the press release in PDF

We will continue to keep members informed of further developments. 
Please note that the announcement of the results of the referendum doesn't lead to any immediate change to the operation of the services and to the working conditions for Québec musicians (pension fund, visas and permits, deposit of contracts, etc.)

For any question, please contact us at communications@gmmq.com