Dear fellow AFM members.  My name is Steve Nathan, and I'm a keyboard player and member of Local 257 Nashville, TN.  I'm writing out of concern for our AFM Pension Fund.  As many of you know, the fund has been in "Critical Status" for close to a decade now, and though I was relieved to get the recent notice that our fund held that status for another year, work still needs to be done.


Our fund is one of many so-called Multi Employer pension funds across the country, and if it continues to decline, it may soon be eligible to to apply to the Treasury  for a restructuring that could cut

your pension benefits by as much as 70%.   In the past, a fund in that much trouble might fail, but the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (essentially "backstop" insurance, like the FDIC for bank accounts) would kick in and cover most of your benefits. However,  in 2014, congress passed MEPRA (The Kline-Miller Act), which undid that protection and instead placed nearly all of the burden on the retirees alone.


Earlier this month legislation was re-introduced (KOPPA/the Keep Our Pensions Promises Act) that could have a significant effect on our pensions.  It seeks to "roll back" some provisions of Kline-Miller and make sure that employers keep their side of the bargain, but it is "stuck" in committee and going nowhere.


 It is understandable.  It was written from one side of the aisle, and includes provisions that are unacceptable to the other . However, I have personally established close contact with representatives from several of the bill's sponsors, and have been assured that they are completely willing to compromise.  They just need someone, anyone from the other side to be willing to just sit down and talk.  As it turns out, one of the Senators in opposition is Kansas Senator Pat Roberts. I am hoping to encourage Local 34-627 members who live on the Kansas side to write to Senator Roberts and ask him to consider just talking to the sponsors of the bill in order to reach some compromise.


He can be reached through his web site


If you live in Missouri, you can write to Senator Roy Blunt at:


If any members have questions, I will try my best to answer them and can be reached at Also, there is a really good resource for information on this subject at Musicians for Pension Security:


      I hope everyone who writes to Senator Roberts (or Senator Blunt) speaks from the heart, but I also recognize that it can be helpful to suggest language as a guide, or to be cut and pasted, so here goes


Dear Senator Roberts. (Blunt)

I write today as a musician and

constituent.  I urge you to consider meeting with the sponsors of the Keep Our Pension Promises Act, and hope that as my representative, you are willing to sit and talk, negotiate to reach a compromise that is fairer to musician pensioners than the current MEPRA law.

Thank you,