The Professional Musicians of Central New York

About Us

The Professional Musicians of Central New York enjoys a long and rich history, representing working musicians for well over a century. As part of an emerging national movement seeking recognition for performing musicians as professional artists entitled to fair compensation for their work, the Syracuse Musical Union was first organized on February 11, 1886, and was later reorganized as Local 18 of the National League of Musicians (NLM) of the United States.

NLM Locals were completely autonomous, however, with widely diverse pay scales, and little real identity as part of national union, and with no apparent interest in joining the national labor movement, either. Eventually, in 1896, the American Federation of Labor granted a charter to a group of NLM delegates who favored trade union affiliation, and the American Federation of Musicians was founded. On May 1, 1898 the Syracuse Musical Union was finally reorganized once again as Local 78 of the AFM, as the Syracuse Musicians' Protective Association, committed to the AFM principle that all musicians who receive pay need a labor union to secure fair wages and working conditions.

Throughout the 20th century and the corresponding evolution of the music industry, Local 78 continued to represent the professional musicians of Syracuse and Onondaga County in theater, vaudeville, brass bands, symphony, night club and casual engagements, working with employers to ensure that proper working conditions and pay scales were always observed, while providing a much needed stabilizing force in a dramatically changing business. With the emergence of recorded music, much of the Association's energy and resources was necessarily redirected to help ensure that live music would not become obsolete. Continuing technological advancements during the past half-century have forever changed the world of music, but our slogan "Live Music Is Best" remains as true today as in the past, although "Live Union Music is Best of All".

During the 1980s, consistent with AFM policy consolidating nearby Locals sharing common interests and venues, the Syracuse Musicians' Association merged with the Auburn Musicians Union in 1986, forming what is now The Professional Musicians of Central New York, Local 78 - AFM. In the same spirit of consolidation, Local 78 merged with the Utica Musicians Union in 2011. We are affiliated with the Greater Syracuse Labor Council also known as the Central New York Area Labor Federation, the AFL-CIO, and the New York State Conference.

Contact Info
The Professional Musicians of Central New York
3009 Burnet Ave. Syracuse, N.Y. 13206
Phone: 315-433-9807 Fax: 315-433-9807
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Officers / Executive Board
President .......................... William Harris
Vice President .................. Rob Bridge
Secretary ........................Joseph Carfagno
Treasurer..........................Edward O'Rourke
Sergeant-at-Arms...............Richard S. Schaffer
Member-at-Large................Carol Dumka
Member-at-Large.................Jessica King

President Emeritus
Phillip G. Klein

Executive Board Emeriti
Herbert J. Fowler, Jr.
Jon R. Garland
Lynn N. Hamster
William H. Harris
Laurance A. Luttinger
William H. Machold