September 16, 2008

Dear AFTRA Member:

After an eventful summer, AFTRA members are working harder than ever before to create more employment opportunities and stronger contract enforcement for performers.

Your union has successfully pursued more than $17 million in claims for AFTRA members for fiscal year ending April 30, 2008, including claims for replays of programs and commercials. This represents an increase of almost $3 million over last year. As you also know, AFTRA members have successfully resolved five national labor agreements so far this year, including: Sound Recordings, Network TV, Non-Broadcast/Industrial, CBS/ABC Network News, and this summer, the Primetime TV (Exhibit A to the Network Code).

Recently, AFTRA members began a preliminary dialogue with employers for the AFTRA Interactive Agreement, which expires on December 31, 2008. In August, AFTRA and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) also announced an agreement with the advertising industry’s ANA/AAAA Joint Policy Committee on Broadcast Talent Union Relations (JPC) to extend the Commercial Contracts through March 31, 2009. You will be hearing more about member preparation for this contract negotiation in the coming months.

In the meantime, be sure to catch your fellow AFTRA members during the new television season on such AFTRA primetime TV dramas and situation comedies as “Rules of Engagement,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Flight of the Conchords,” “Head Case,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Til Death,” “Reaper,” “Roman’s Empire,” “90210,” “Gary Unmarried,” “The Unusuals,” “Better off Ted,” “Prince of Motor City,” and “Bad Mother’s Handbook.”

I also want to recognize the outstanding work of all of those members involved with EMMY-nominated AFTRA programs, including: “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Flight of the Conchords,” “Damages,” “Bernard and Doris,” “The Company,” “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter,” “The Amazing Race,” “The Kennedy Center Honors,” “The 80th Annual Academy Awards,” “Saturday Night Live,” “The Colbert Report,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “Late Show with David Letterman,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “American Idol,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Deal or No Deal,” and “Survivor.” Our congratulations to all of the talented individuals, both in-front of and behind-the-camera, who contributed to the success of these and other EMMY-nominated programs.

Additionally, I’m very pleased to announce the date for AFTRA’s award program – the 2009 AFTRA Media and Entertainment Excellence Awards (The AMEES) – which will be held on March 9, 2009, at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. Proceeds from The AMEES and donations to the AFTRA Foundation provide support for special programs of value to performers, broadcasters, and recording artists. More details about The AMEES will be announced soon.

Given all that’s going on, I hope you will still find the time this busy season to attend a meeting at your Local. Also check for updates and information on www.aftra.com. AFTRA is committed to providing members with more helpful information and education as we all move forward. To this end, we recently sent all members a simple questionnaire asking about your specific union interests and concerns. The idea is to improve our communications and further develop our programs to meet your needs. Please take the time to complete the form, which you can access here.

And, on a more somber note, as we’ve all witnessed this week, workers everywhere are facing hardship in an increasingly challenging economic climate. It’s more important than ever for AFTRA members to support and participate in their union. Given AFTRA members’ creativity, collective strength, solidarity, and commitment, I have no doubt that we will continue to make positive strides forward and embrace new opportunities for all members.

In solidarity,

Roberta Reardon

 

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