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New Media Special Report

Posted July 22, 2009

AFTRA Members Move Forward in Securing Jobs and Jurisdiction in New Media

"I am fiercely devoted to my union, and I want it to be vital as we hurtle forward through the halls of technology."

                                             —D.B. Cooper, AFTRA Boston
                                                member and voiceover artist (at right)

It's being called "digital media," "new media," "rich media" and more, but for AFTRA members it's a whole new medium in which to work and create. Moreover, just as AFTRA members brought union standards to the radio in the '30s, sound recordings in the '40s, television in the '50s, and interactive media in the '80s, AFTRA is moving to make sure that your work in the new digital media is covered under an AFTRA contract. Here's an overview of how AFTRA members are moving forward together:

AFTRA Electronic Media Agreements have you covered

Working on programs made for the Internet, podcast, as well as voicing characters for a show that will appear on a cell phone? AFTRA Electronic Media Agreements have you covered.

10 years ago, who knew all these new platforms would be possible? But today it is—and more advances are sure to come.

Whatever the future holds, the AFTRA Electronic Media Agreements for entertainment programming, approved by the AFTRA National Board last year, and news/information programming, approved this year, have you covered. These AFTRA agreements guarantee you minimum rates, timely payment, safe working conditions, and health and retirement benefits when you're hired to work on programs for cell phones, podcasts, the Internet, and other new media platforms.

Will you earn the rates and get the protections and benefits you deserve when you work in new media? Only if you demand an AFTRA Agreement. As with any other type of AFTRA work, AFTRA can help you bring your work in new media under an AFTRA contract. When you’re offered a gig, just give your local a call.

Call your AFTRA Local or email RichMedia@aftra.com for more information on the AFTRA Electronic Media Agreements.

New media productions grow under an AFTRA contract

AFTRA has about 60 new media productions covered by a contract, including dramatic, variety, music, comedy, news, sports, and awards programming.

Employers who've signed AFTRA contracts range from major studios and leading Internet content providers to fledgling start-ups and small production companies experimenting with new media.

In addition to the AFTRA Electronic Media Agreements, AFTRA uses certain provisions of the Network Code to cover AFTRA performers in new media productions. AFTRA thoroughly assesses the producer and intended production to negotiate a contract that provides union standards for performers and allows the production to succeed.

AFTRA members guide policy and outreach

The AFTRA National Board of Directors has made bringing union standards to work in the new media a top priority with the recent appointment of a member committee to work with AFTRA members across the country and with staff.

The New Media member committee is head up by AFTRA National Board members Holter Graham of New York and Andrew Caple-Shaw of Los Angeles with the assistance from Denny Delk of San Francisco.

The committee is planning meetings across the country beginning in January. Look for an announcement of a meeting in your area soon.

New media crucial to upcoming AFTRA negotiations

As new business models evolve to deal with new media innovations, AFTRA members will also need to negotiate new contracts that provide union standards to professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists for all uses of performances.

AFTRA members are moving forward together to build strength at the bargaining table to win better contracts in new digital media by learning about the issues and expressing concerns and needs in the new contracts—and then demonstrating support for working together.

Contact your Local AFTRA office to find out how you can join with AFTRA members to build strength at the bargaining table.

Get more information and ask questions at richmedia@aftra.com.

 

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