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AFTRA Reaches Tentative Agreement with AMPTP on Primetime Television Contract

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists—the nation’s second largest performers’ union, representing 70,000 members, has reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on a new three-year primetime television contract. The agreement is subject to approval by AFTRA’s National Board and ratification by the union’s membership.

Highlights of the new agreement include:

  • Establishing wage increases in traditional media in each year of the contract.
  • Increasing employer contributions to the AFTRA Health and Retirement plan.
  • Establishing jurisdiction over programs produced for distribution on the Internet and New Media.
  • Establishing new residual structures for paid Internet downloads (electronic sell-through) that significantly increase current rates and establish residual rates for ad-supported streaming and use of clips on the Internet.
  • Preserving performers’ consent for non-promotional New Media use of excerpts of traditional TV shows.
  • Establishing a sunset provision that allows both sides to revisit New Media.• Increasing the number of covered background actors in Los Angeles.
  • Securing rest provisions for background performers in Los Angeles.
  • Renewing and codifying turnaround provisions for stunt coordinators.
  • Improving the terms and conditions for performers who work under the CW contract (formerly WB/UPN supplement).

“This is another groundbreaking agreement for AFTRA,” said AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon. “In addition to achieving meaningful gains in compensation and working conditions for performers, it also establishes AFTRA jurisdiction in the dynamic area of New Media and it preserves performers’ consent for use of excerpts of traditional TV shows in New Media.

“This is a challenging time in the entertainment industry and this was a tough negotiation,” she said. “Our ability to achieve these crucial breakthroughs for performers was a direct result of AFTRA members’ pragmatic approach to collective bargaining. We recognized the hard realities currently affecting the traditional TV business and we focused on creating a framework that would allow union members to participate fully in the emerging new media marketplace.”
“We appreciate the support we received from the Hollywood labor community, and we wish our brothers and sisters in the Screen Actors Guild the very best as they resume their own contract talks,” she added.

AFTRA primetime TV dramas and situation comedies include: “Rules of Engagement,” “Cashmere Mafia,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Flight of the Conchords,” “Dante’s Cove,” “Til Death,” “Reaper” and new CBS dramatic programs “Project Gary” and “Harper’s Island” and the ABC comedy “Roman’s Empire.” The current contract expires on June 30, 2008.

Details of the new agreement will be submitted to the AFTRA National Board at meetings scheduled for June 6-7 in Los Angeles. If approved by the National Board, the pact will be submitted to AFTRA’s membership for ratification. The new three-year agreement will be effective from July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2011. Formal negotiations between AFTRA’s 31-member Primetime Negotiating Committee and the AMPTP began on Wednesday, May 7th in Los Angeles. Talks were preceded by months of informal discussions and research by union staff and consultants. AFTRA twice delayed the scheduled start of its primetime negotiations to allow the Screen Actors Guild to continue its primetime/theatrical talks (which began on April 15). Representatives of the following organizations attended one or more of the negotiating sessions: Writers Guild of America, West, Directors Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild, Teamsters Local 399, and AFTRA’s strategic partner, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. The new primetime television contract is the fourth major agreement AFTRA negotiated this year. The other three contracts, all of which have been ratified, are the AFTRA Network Code, the AFTRA Sound Recordings Code, and the ABC/CBS Network News Contracts.

For more info, go to http://www.aftra.org/press/2008_05_28_pt_agreement.html

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