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AFTRA Announces New Audiobook Agreements

Posted May 21, 2009

Retirement Living TV Agreement Extended with Increases

Los Angeles, CA (May 21, 2009)—The Administrative Committee of the AFTRA National Board of Directors has unanimously approved two new agreements covering performers working on audiobooks produced by John McElroy Production and Talent Services and Mind Wings Audio.

The agreements are effective June 1, 2009, through May 31, 2011, and cover digital and/or retail audiobook recordings for New York-based McElroy, which produces audiobooks for major book publishers, and Maryland-based Mind Wings Audio, a newly established audiobook company specializing in short stories. The agreements also establish minimum rates and employer contributions to the AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds.

"These agreements will give AFTRA narrators an even stronger presence in audiobook narration," said Richard Ferrone, AFTRA New York Local Board member and Chair of the AFTRA National Audiobook Steering Committee. "The Mind Wings agreement will grow the work available to the professional narrator community in the Washington, D.C. area, while the agreement with McElroy Production and Talent Services will allow audiobook publishers to continue to use AFTRA narrators in the New York area, while keeping them competitive with recording done in other parts of the country."

In January 2009, AFTRA members approved a landmark agreement to cover performers working on audiobooks produced by Audible.com, one of the Internet's largest online distributors of audiobooks.

The Administrative Committee also approved an extension to the union's agreement with Retirement Living TV which expired on December 31, 2008. Retirement Living TV is distributed on cable and is aimed at Americans age 55 years and older, offering a wide range of programs on topics including health, lifestyle, finance, and politics. This month, RLTV launched in approximately 2.4 million Comcast households all across the nation.

The new agreement extends the contract through December 31, 2011, and includes a 3% increase in compensation in each year of the contract, and an increase in employer contributions to the AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds on behalf of performers from 14.1% to 15% at the end of the second year.

The first contract between AFTRA and Retirement Living TV went into effect June 15, 2006, and since then has generated more than $2 million in earnings for AFTRA members, including programs now produced by AARP for distribution by Retirement Living TV.

In other action, the Administrative Committee approved the formation of an AFTRA Non-Broadcast/Industrial/Educational Steering Committee to prepare for renegotiation of the AFTRA Non-Broadcast/Industrial/Educational Code which is set to expire on October 31, 2009.

The agreements and committee appointments were unanimously approved yesterday by the AFTRA Administrative Committee at its regular monthly national teleconference.

ABOUT AFTRA
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America. In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, journalists, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audiobooks, non-broadcast industrials, interactive games, the Internet, and other digital media. The 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists of AFTRA are working together to protect and improve their jobs, lives, and communities in the 21st century. From new art forms to new technology, AFTRA members embrace change in their work and craft to enhance American culture and society. Visit AFTRA online at http://www.aftra.com.

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