…Absolutely guaranteed anonymity – Former Musician’s Union officer


…The one voice of reason in a sea of insanity – Nashville ‘first call’
scoring musician

…Allows us to speak our minds without fear of reprisal – L.A. Symphonic musician

…Reporting issues the Musicians Union doesn’t dare to mention – National touring musician





MPS Response to AFM-EPF Trustees

Fellow Musicians,

It only took 48 hours after the Musicians for Pension
Security national meeting on April 4th for the AFM-EPF
Trustees to reject each and every proposal we made,
casually brushing aside months of careful work by
our team of experts. Rather than engaging in a dialogue
concerning the positive and creative recommendations
we made for lessening the impact of cuts to our pensions,
cutting expenses, or reforming the board, the Trustees
chose to question our motives and attack our all-volunteer
organization that works on behalf of fellow musicians
across the country. Read the letter the trustees sent
to us on 4/6 here.

This is especially disappointing because at the national
meeting MPS made clear its desire to work with the
Trustees to find solutions to our pension crisis. Prior
to the meeting MPS and its actuary Tom Lowman
made direct offers to the Trustees, and AFM-EPF plan
actuary, Milliman, to meet and discuss our proposals.
The Trustees did not respond. Again, at the meeting,
we reached out to our Trustees and urged them to
engage with us. We wanted to represent the voice of
musicians around the country and be part of the process
now before any cuts are instituted. After all, it is our
pension plan that is currently at risk.

Unfortunately, these honest overtures have been summarily
rejected. The Trustees have made it clear that they have
no intention of listening, engaging or taking input from MPS
or anyone else. Since December of 2016, when the Trustees
first told plan participants about the possibility of cuts, we
have been held in suspense, waiting for a plan from the
Trustees. Unfortunately sixteen months later, our Trustees
still have no plan for the future until we hit rock bottom.
Then, and only then, will the Trustees act, taking the easy
way out by pursuing cuts to our benefits.


At the National Meeting MPS proposed a comprehensive
Action Plan that would stabilize the AFM-EPF for decades
to come. The Action Plan included a three-year delay of
benefit cuts, negotiating 6% increase in employer contributions,
and a 10% cut in administrative expenses. We also called
for board reform, including the replacement of five out of
eight the trustees and bringing more financial investment
and actuarial expertise onto the board. Finally, we asked
the Trustees to engage more meaningfully on the Butch
Lewis Act in Washington DC.

The Trustees’ response to each of these proposals
was to reject them out of hand. Here is a point by
point response to the Trustee’s misguided attack:

Proposal For a Three-year Delay in Cuts

Trustees: Plan for a three-year delay in benefit cuts
is “based on a distortion of facts“ and is “just empty

MPS: The three-year delay was based on financial
modeling done by one of the foremost actuaries in
the multiemployer pension field, Tom Lowman. Mr.
Lowman believes a three-year delay is possible if
the Union leaders can obtain 6% contribution increases
and a 10% cut in expenses. In support, Mr. Lowman
cited numerous instances where pension plans in
trouble obtained 6% increases in employer contributions
for multiple years. These included the Baltimore
Teamsters and the Central States Teamsters fund.
He also cited the fact that the AFM-EPF itself obtained
6% increases in employer contributions for multiple
years in the middle part of the last decade.

The Trustees do not even attempt to address
this extensive factual record.

History of Mismanagement

Trustees: “Since the 2008 global financial recession,
the Trustees have consistently taken action to
preserve the Fund.”

MPS: The Trustees have produced the worst investment
returns in their peer group of large pension plans, have
the highest expenses of any fund in the entertainment
industry, and cannot raise employer contributions even
to the rate of wage inflation. We have written a piece
entitled “A Track Record of Mismanagement” that you
can access here to view our detailed analysis of the
Trustees’ self-serving and misleading claims on their
performance. There is now overwhelming evidence
that this pension plan has been badly mismanaged.
The Trustees’ refusal to take even an iota of responsibility
for that fact is alarming.

Assumptions Concerning Growth in Employer

Trustees:  Getting employers to contribute more
is “complicated.” The AFM-EPF is assuming that
employer contributions will grow 2.5% per year,
and this is “based on historic averages.” Any claim
that the growth in employer contributions should
be set higher “shows lack of understanding of
our industry or the Fund’s actual experience.”

MPS: Tom Lowman does not lack understanding
of the situation. He explained his reasoning on
this point quite clearly. First, the AFM-EPF has
itself obtained much higher employer contributions
than 2.5% in the past. Second, the current rate of
wage inflation is 2.9% and as Tom said, any
pension plan that assumes its rate of increases
in employer contributions is less than wage
inflation is probably making an erroneous assumption.

Expense Discipline

Trustees: “MPS’ own actuary stated clearly that
expenses were not the issue.”

MPS: Tom Lowman said nothing of the kind.
His model clearly calls for 10% expense cuts,
and a three-year delay in cuts would not be
achievable without them. MPS legal counsel
Jonathan Kantor stated at the meeting that
without meaningful expense cuts, the Trustees
might not be able to clear the key MPRA
hurdle at U.S. Treasury of taking “all reasonable
measures” to avoid insolvency. The Trustees’
renewed claims that they have exercised
expense discipline is demonstrably false.
Their own projection calls for 2.25% increases
in expenses over the next 20 years, with
no cuts in sight. See our accompanying piece,
“A Track Record of Mismanagement,” for
details on the Trustees’ abysmal record on
expenses here.

Board Reform

The Trustees simply failed to address this
important issue, even though it is an essential
element of our Action Plan, and one that
received an enthusiastic response at the
National Meeting.

At the meeting, we pointed out that the Trustees
we have been serving for a long time – some
of them for decades. We also pointed out that
they severely mismanaged this Plan to the
brink of disaster. Even if they get the cuts that
they are looking for, there is nothing to prevent
them from going for more cuts in the next 5
to 10 years. The only way to prevent this from
happening is to bring onto the board competent,
experienced and accountable Trustees who
are experts in their fields, particularly the
investment and the actuarial fields.

Legislative Engagement

Even in their recent piece, it’s clear that the
Trustees have left themselves plenty of room
to back away from the Butch Lewis Act. “The
trustees will strongly advocate to [the select
committee] for a remedy that fully addresses
the financial issues facing our fund while
treating our participants fairly.” That could
well include the proposal of the NCCMP,
which is the lobbying organization which is
closely aligned with our Trustees. NCCMP
has been advocating forcefully against the
application of the Butch Lewis Act to plans
like ours. They have also been advocating
changes to MPRA that would make it easier
for plan sponsors to get cuts to pension
benefits. Details on this can be found in
the attached piece, “A Track Record of


Trustees: “MPS’ propaganda and smear
tactics are detrimental to the Union’s ability
to get members behind negotiating increases
to contributions….We will continue to provide
the participants with accurate information,
not political spin.”

MPS: It appears the Trustees have adopted
a popular method of response to constituents
demanding accountability that is widely used
in politics today: When faced with fact-based
and solid criticism, they claim to be “attacked”
and call the truth a “fantasy.” We deserve better
leadership. We deserve leadership that holds
the democratic process as sacred and does
not denigrate its members for having an open
discourse about the possibility of speaking
with our vote on this issue. They could have
an open discussion with us but they hide
behind Hart Associates. They could have
face to face meetings but they use webinars
where they control the message. They claim
that this is politics when no member of MPS
has ever held nor ran for an AFM office. As
long time, dues-paying members, we deserve
a responsive and respectful discourse from
our elected leaders. We did not get that in
Friday night’s letter nor at any moment
since we started a year ago.

The Trustees’ Plans

Trustees: “Trustees are also planning for
the future and are currently considering
many options.”

MPS: That is deliberately vague. MPS
has obtained documents from AFM-EPF
files showing that the Trustees are in
advanced stages of planning for cuts
to our pensions. They have even had
a series of discussions with the staff
of the U.S. Treasury about the best
way to frame their cut application.
They have extensively modeled cuts
in the 23-30% range, and this has
been going on since late 2015. The
Trustees have set compassion and
empathy aside for retirees who could
lose their homes or have a significantly
reduced quality of life by saying “we
simply don’t know” when continually
asked, “what is the plan.”

Fellow musicians – we deserve better than this.

There is a clear absence of leadership
at the AFM-EPF. Ray Hair, Tino
Gagaliardi and the other trustees’ only
plan is to wait for our fund to hit rock
bottom, then and only then they will
finally act and cut benefits taking the
easy way out.  It is now clear that while
the Trustees wait for us to hit rock
bottom the only other thing they will
do is attack anyone trying to propose
proactive solutions or asking for a basic
level of accountability.  While the
Trustees try to attack their way out
of the problem they created, Musicians
for Pension Security will continue to
look for solutions and find a way
forward on behalf of fellow musicians
across the country.

In order to continue working on your
behalf, we need your help.  We will
be starting our spring fundraising
drive later this week. Please donate
what you can.

In solidarity,

Send a check or money order payable
to Musicians for Pension Security, Inc to:

Musicians for Pension Security
45-06 Queens Blvd.
Suite 202
Sunnyside, NY 11104

Please help spread the word! Click
below to share on Facebook and
Twitter. We must work together to
save our pension .

[Colleagues, Did you really expect anything
different? These folks are only out for themselves,
their own profit, and seemingly the perfect folks
for the Trump Era.

We wish MPS the best of Luck, but expect
nothing from the trustees and their Lackeys
at the AFM (or the other way around.)
We’re sure they already know exactly what
they’re going to do.

We’ve also been told a fake email account was
created the day before the meeting to trash
whatever the MPS said… They are predictable
if nothing else.]




Thanks for a Great Meeting Now MPS
Needs Your Help! Please Donate

Musicians For Pension Security celebrated its
first anniversary with a highly successful
nationwide meeting on April 4th. MPS thanks
all of our fellow musicians who participated in
the meeting, both in NYC and watching across
the country via Facebook Live.

Assisted by the expert advice of nationally
recognized actuary Tom Lowman and legal
counsel Jonathan Kantor, we presented the
MPS Action Plan: A three-part approach,
detailing ideas and reforms that will make
significant improvements to the fund. If you
missed the MPS National Meeting or want
to watch again from home, you can see the
complete videos and power point presentations
of the meeting here. A summary of the MPS
Action Plan is here.

MPS 2018 Fundraising Drive

Last summer we asked for your help and you
overwhelmingly responded to our fundraiser.
We reached our $15,000 goal in less than
two weeks thanks to your quick action and
generosity. That allowed us to hire one of
the country’s leading actuaries Tom Lowman.
The MPS team now has a viable Action Plan
thanks to our experts. This spring, MPS once
again needs your help to advocate for that
plan and many other initiatives in the coming

MPS needs to raise $15,000
by June 1st.

2018 is a crucial year. Your donations will go
a long way in helping to secure a more certain
future for our pension fund. As You know, we
are an all-volunteer organization working on
behalf of fellow musicians across the country.
Every single dollar donated to MPS goes
directly to protecting our pension.

Upcoming expenses include:
• Extending MPS actuary Tom Lowman’s
contract which expires shortly
• New document purchases from AFM-EPF
• MPS operating expenses
• Budget for future MPS meetings

Help us keep the MPS team together. Help us
push for the MPS Action Plan. Help us protect
the pension fund. Donate what you can today!
And thank you!
Click the button below to donate.

Send a check or money order payable to
Musicians for Pension Security, Inc to:

Musicians for Pension Security
45-06 Queens Blvd.
Suite 202
Sunnyside, NY 11104
Please help spread the word! Click below
to share on Facebook, Twitter or forward
this email. We must work together to save
our pension!




are now at

Culver City Elks the first 
Friday of 
every month.


11160 Washington Pl.

Culver City, 90232




Sanford Hinderlie and Tom van der Geld in concert!
Friday, April 20, 7:30 p.m
Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall
Loyola’s main campus
Admission is free

Coming back to New Orleans after several

concerts in Europe this year Sanford Hinderlie and

Tom van der Geld perform a jazz duo concert for piano

and vibraphone. Tom and Sandy are performing

original compositions, both new and from the 40+

years each has contributed to the world of jazz. This

concert is sponsored in part by the State of Louisiana

Board of Regents Support Funds for Louisiana

Artists and Scholars (ATLAS)





WVS Presents: Soloists and Stars of the Westlake Village
Symphony, a concert of symphonic favorites featuring
soloists from within the orchestra!

WVS principal cellist John Fare, principal flutist
Rhondda Dayton, and assistant conductor Laura
Asenas (along with some special guests) all make
spotlight appearances on

Friday, April 27th at 7:30 PM at
St Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Simi.

Reserve your seats today by emailing
[email protected]

General Admission – $5

Date: Friday, April 27, 2018

Time: 7:30 pm

Location: St Rose of Lima Catholic Church
1305 Royal Ave, Simi Valley, CA 93065

Carmen Suite No. 1, Georges Bizet
“O Mio Babbino Caro” from Gianni Schicci, Giacomo Puccini
“On My Own” from Les Miserables, Claude-Michel Schönberg
Symphony No. 8 “Unfinished”, Franz Schubert
“California Places” for Flute and Orchestra, Terry Minogue
Cello Concerto in B minor, Antonín Dvořák
“Sous le dôme épais” from Lakmé, Léo Delibes



The Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program

at the Seattle Film Institute
is now accepting applications for the one-year
Master of Music in Film Composition
One of the Top 4 Film Music Programs in the World!
Recently rated as the #4 school in the world for film
scoring education by Music School Central.
“in just one year, the school places students into a
pressure cooker of intense learning resulting in a
professional demo reel that can be used to obtain
future paid commercial opportunities.”

Learn from Industry Professionals
All PNWFS faculty are active professional film and
game composers, orchestrators, copyists, and
engineers, including the program’s creator and
lead instructor Dr. Hummie Mann.  Hummie is the
two-time Emmy Award winning film composer of
“Robin Hood: Men in Tights” and featured in
Variety Magazine’s article “Leaders in Learning”.
Our Program Features:
• 9 live recording sessions with professional
musicians at Studio X, Seattle’s premiere, world-class studio.

• Opportunities to work with student directors
to score actual films from film programs all
over the world.
• Training in all major software programs used
in the industry.
• A state-of-the-art workstation assigned to
each student fully installed with the latest versions
of all software, sample libraries and plug-ins needed

to complete the program.

Accelerated and Affordable
We are a one-year Master of Music in Film
Composition program which not only gives our
graduates the opportunity to enter the industry
and start their careers a year sooner than other
programs but saves them an entire year of living
expenses. In addition to our accelerated format
we also offer the most affordable tuition out of
competing programs. Our students have access
to FAFSA financial assistance, loans, and
scholarships as well.

History of Success
We are very proud to have a high success rate
for our graduates who have gone on to work on
television shows such as Castle, Empire, and Once
Upon a Time; video games such as World of Warcraft,
Spate, and Destiny; and films such as The Revenant,
Trolls, The Dark Tower, and Guardians of the Galaxy
Vol. 2. Apply now and you could be joining their ranks!
Applications are being accepted for the Fall 2018
school year.
We offer rolling admissions – no deadline to apply.

(800) 882-4734 |






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