New Year Brings New First Contract for AFTRA Members
at Top-Rated Chicago Radio Stations
The New Year brings a new contract for on-air talent at two of Chicago’s top-rated radio stations as members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists successfully negotiated a deal that compensates the broadcasters for their contributions to the success of WGCI-FM and WGRB-AM.
“It took two years of bargaining, two years of holding strong and it paid off—the AFTRA members won an amazing first contract,” said Eileen Willenborg, AFTRA Chicago Local Executive Director.
The new contract—recently ratified by the on-air talent and approved by the AFTRA National and Chicago Local boards—includes significant financial gains in pay rates and benefits as well as improved working conditions.
Highlights of the agreement include:
• Full-time and part-time broadcasters to have contribution to the AFTRA Health and
Retirement plans made on their behalf
• A 5-day workweek, (previously six days were allowable) with a 4.5 hour minimum call
• Turnaround pay for all work within 12 hours of a previous shift
• Work on the Internet and other new media covered by the new agreement
• Limits on voice tracking
• A contract bonus of $1,000 for full-time and $500 for part-time employees
• Part time rates at WGCI increase by 75% by the end of the contract, part-time rates at WGRB
increase by 92% by the end of the contract
Broadcasters at WGCI-FM and WGRB-AM formed their union with AFTRA in July 2004, but challenges by Clear Channel, owner of the stations, delayed formal recognition of AFTRA as the representative of on-air talent. The National Labor Relations Board rejected Clear Channel’s claims, paving the way for negotiation of the first contract.
The approximately 30 broadcasters at WGCI-FM and WGRB-AM were united in their approach at the bargaining table—and had the support of AFTRA members at WNUA and WVAZ, two other Clear Channel stations in Chicago.
The new contract runs from January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2009.