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2012 Sound Recordings Code Proposed Agreement Summary

Posted January 05, 2012

Click here for a summary of the proposed Sound Recordings Code agreement (which includes the following cover letter).

Dear AFTRA Member:

On behalf of the AFTRA Sound Recordings Negotiating Committee, we are pleased to present you with the new terms of your AFTRA Sound Recordings Code for 2012-2014. Your fellow AFTRA members of the Negotiating Committee and the National Administrative Committee have approved the agreement and recommend your “yes” vote for ratification. It is important that you review the enclosed summary. As indicated on the attached material, you can vote via the Internet or by telephone. Voting instructions are enclosed with these documents.

Negotiations with the record labels began in August and concluded December 15, 2011. The process was not easy: the recording industry has declined significantly since 2000, as revenues have plummeted by more than 50% since 2000. Mass layoffs at the labels, reductions in the number of roster artists, and corporate mergers occurred during the period in which we were negotiating.

Your fellow performers on the negotiating committee work in every aspect of recordings: rock, rap, country, jazz, R&B…. all royalty artists, session singers or spoken word artists who share your interests. They worked tirelessly on your behalf – as volunteers -- with one goal in mind: to negotiate the best contract possible for AFTRA members both now and in the future. We owe them special thanks for their unwavering dedication throughout these arduous negotiations.

As you review the gains your negotiating committee achieved, please note two areas of priority in these negotiations:

Increased contributions required of the labels to support your health and retirement plans. Your negotiating committee stood fast to protect your AFTRA H&R Plans, which like all health and pension plans, have been affected by the decline in the U.S. economy during the past three years. The H&R contribution rate on royalty earnings will increase by 1% during the term of the agreement. In addition, the Negotiating Committee preserved guaranteed individual health insurance for roster artists, by increasing the labels’ “special payment” for this insurance. This insurance was a breakthrough concept originally achieved in the 2002 negotiations, but the rising cost of health care since has made it a target for termination. Your negotiating committee not only protected this benefit, but negotiated a system to ensure that anticipated inflation in health care costs is covered.

Expanded Payments for Digital Downloads: The negotiations successfully revised the structure of payments for all non-royalty singers on recordings sold through permanent audio downloads. The new formula for digital downloads eliminates “exclusions” that were in the prior structure. As sales of physical product decline and sales of digital downloads plateau, revising the formula was a priority in this negotiation.

The AFTRA Negotiating Committee, the AFTRA Administrative Committee and your AFTRA staff negotiators all recommend you vote YES to ratify the terms of the new AFTRA Sound Recordings Code.

PLEASE REVIEW THE ATTACHED SUMMARY OF PROPOSED AGREEMENT CAREFULLY AND VOTE BY EITHER METHOD (WEB OR TELEPHONE) AS PROVIDED ON THE ATTACHED INSTRUCTIONS.


YOU MUST CAST YOUR VOTE NOT LATER THAN 12 P.M. EST ON JANUARY 30, 2012.

Thank you for your continued participation in your union and your support of 70,000 professional performers of AFTRA. Together, we will continue to work to ensure that our work is protected and we are paid fair wages.

Roberta Reardon                             Kim Roberts Hedgpeth
AFTRA National President               AFTRA National Executive Director

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