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Artists, Producers Agree to TV Contract

28 May, 2008 By: Chris Tribbey

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) agreed to a new, three-year primetime TV contract May 28.

Highlights of the new agreement include wage increases during each year of the contract, increased employer contributions to AFTRA's health and retirement plans, new residuals for Internet downloads, and sunset provisions that allow both sides to revisit their agreements for divvying up new media revenues.

“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 the use of excerpts of traditional TV shows in new media.”

AFTRA's national board still needs to approve the agreement, and the union must ratify it. If the new contract is approved during the board's scheduled meeting June 6-7, it will go into effect when the current contract expires June 30.

“This is a challenging time in the entertainment industry and this was a tough negotiation,” Reardon said. “Our ability to achieve these crucial breakthroughs for performers was a direct result of AFTRA members' pragmatic approach to collective bargaining.”

The Writers Guild of America West, the Screen Actors Guild, Teamsters Local 399, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and the Directors Guild of America all attended negotiating sessions, which began May 7.

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