AFRTRA Reaches Tentative Agreement with AMPTP

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AFTRA has reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP for a new primetime television contract. Will SAG soon follow? The full details:

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists—the nation’s second largest performers’ union, representing 70,000 members, including approximately 52,000 working actors—has reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on a new three-year primetime television contract (Exhibit A of the AFTRA Network Television Code). 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 situation comedy “Project Gary” and drama “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 7, 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.

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AFTRA PRIMETIME TELEVISION CONTRACT
(Exhibit A of the AFTRA Network Code)

FACT SHEET
May 28, 2008

Wage Increases

– Increases minimums by 3.5% effective July 1, 2008, by an additional 3% effective July 1, 2009, and by an additional 3.5% effective July 1, 2010.

– Increases the network primetime ceilings (as incorporated in Exhibit A and in the WB/UPN Supplement for one-hour programs) by 2.5% effective July 1, 2008 and by 2.5% effective July 1, 2010.

New Media

– The New Media provisions follow the pattern already established in the DGA, WGA, and AFTRA Network Code agreements.

– Provides for payment for all non-promotional uses in New Media.

– Confirms jurisdiction for programs produced for initial exhibition on the Internet and other New Media.

– Establishes jurisdiction over derivative New Media programs that are based on current programs.

– Establishes coverage of all original programs with budgets of more than $15,000/minute or $300,000/program or $500,000/series, whichever is lowest.

– Establishes coverage of original content below the thresholds when a covered performer is employed.

– Establishes 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.

– Gives AFTRA the ability to audit unredacted license, distribution, and other agreements pertaining to New Media.

– Allows both sides to revisit New Media when the agreement expires.

Consent in New Media

– Preserves performers’ consent for use of non-promotional use in New Media of excerpts from traditional TV shows.

– Provides that the employers and AFTRA develop a mechanism by which performers can provide or withhold consent for non-promotional use of excerpts for New Media from the industry employers’ TV library.

– For programs produced after July 1, 2008, the employer and the performer may bargain for consent for the right to use non-promotional excerpts of traditional TV shows in New Media at the time of original employment.

Gains for Working Performers

– Major Role daily multiplier increases significantly. The Major Role Minimum for a half-hour show, now $4,080, increases to $4,321 effective July 1, 2008, and will reach $4,606 by 2010.
– Overtime money break for 3-day performers increases from $2,700 to $3,000 effective July 1, 2009.
– Money break for trailers increases from $2,500 to $3,000 effective July 1, 2009.
– Schedule breaks for Schedule B and C performers increases from $4,400 to $4,600 effective July 1, 2009.
– Warm-up performers can now receive Health and Retirement credits.
– Increases the number of covered background actors (from 19 to 20) in Los Angeles.
– Secures rest provisions for background performers in Los Angeles.
– Increases penalty payment for a dancer performing hazardous activity and expands the definition for such activities.
– Renews and codifies turnaround provisions for stunt coordinators.
– Improves the terms and conditions for performers who work under the CW contract (formerly WB/UPN supplement).

Health and Retirement

– Health and Retirement contributions increase 0.5% on July 1, 2009, and rise to 15.0%.

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