AFTRA Board OK's Strike
October 3, 2011 at 4:28 AM (PT)
AFTRA's national board has given the negotators for the labor group's sound recording contract authorization to strike, the organization announced SATURDAY. REUTERS reports, "Since mid-AUGUST, the AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TV AND RADIO ARTISTS has been in talks with the major labels on a new sound recordings contract. This deal covers, according to the AFTRA release, 'singers, royalty and non-royalty artists, as well as announcers, actors, comedians, narrators and sound effects artists who work on recordings in all new and traditional media and all music formats, in addition to audiobooks, comedy albums and cast albums'."
Here's the text of the AFTRA announcement:
The National Board of Directors of the AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TELEVISION AND RADIO ARTISTS, AFL-CIO -- a national union of more than 70,000 recording artists, broadcasters and actors -- met TODAY by videoconference plenary in LOS ANGELES and NEW YORK, and unanimously voted to authorize the AFTRA Sound Recordings Negotiating Committee to take all actions necessary, up to and including proceeding to a strike authorization vote if needed, to secure an agreement with the major record labels.
Negotiations between AFTRA and representatives from SONY, UMG, WARNER, EMI, DISNEY and most of their subsidiary labels for a successor agreement to the AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Sound Recordings, the Union's second largest national contract, commenced in NEW YORK on AUG. 15, with an additional round of bargaining held in LOS ANGELES the week of SEPT. 12-16. An additional bargaining date has been set for OCT. 5 in an effort to resolve outstanding issues. AFTRA National Executive Director KIM ROBERTS HEDGPETH serves as Chief Negotiator for the Union.
The Sound Recordings Code covers singers, royalty and non-royalty artists, as well as announcers, actors, comedians, narrators and sound effects artists who work on recordings in all new and traditional media and all music formats, in addition to audiobooks, comedy albums and cast albums. The Code generates more than $140 million annually in AFTRA-covered earnings and benefits for both major artists and session singers around the country.
Board members also unanimously approved the appointment of the 2011 AFTRA Network Television Code Negotiating Committee. AFTRA National President ROBERTA REARDON will chair the 25-member committee and HEDGPETH will serve as Chief Negotiator for the Union. Negotiations with representatives for the four major television broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX) and other producers are scheduled to commence on NOV. 7 in LOS ANGELES.
The AFTRA Network Television Code is the Union’s largest national collective bargaining agreement, and generates more than $300 million a year in member earnings. The Network Code covers programming in all television day parts, except for primetime dramatic programs on the networks and the CW. This includes dramas in first-run syndication, morning news shows, talk shows, serials (soap operas), variety, reality, contest and sports. Current programs covered by this contract include: "GOOD MORNING AMERICA," "THE VIEW," "THE PRICE IS RIGHT," "GENERAL HOSPITAL," "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE," "DANCING WITH THE STARS," "THE VOICE," "SURVIVOR," "20/20," "DEAL OR NO DEAL," "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN," among many others.
"The Sound Recordings and Network Television Codes are AFTRA’s two largest and most mature contracts, and for more than 50 years, they have each provided thousands of AFTRA members with strong wages and important benefits," said HEDGPETH. "But the traditional music, news and entertainment industries are changing rapidly, and the current and upcoming negotiations will provide a critical glimpse into the significant challenges that lie ahead in the 21st century and beyond."
"In order to prevail," HEDGPETH continued, "professional union talent must stand together and organize themselves through their Union so that together they can secure strong contracts."