AFTRA Members Begin to Develop Proposals
for TV Network Code Negotiations
‘Getting ready for primetime and all other day parts,’ says AFTRA President
LOS ANGELES and NEW YORK (September 10, 2007) -- With one of the two major negotiations for TV programming set to begin in January 2008, AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon formally announced today that members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists are gearing up over the next six weeks for the “Wages and Working Conditions” process to develop proposals and negotiation strategy for the AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting (the so-called, “Network Code”).
“AFTRA members are getting ready for primetime and all other day parts,” said Reardon. “From sunrise to late night, the Network Code has been providing union standards of fair wages, good benefits, and safe working conditions for AFTRA members on television since 1952.
“It’s extremely important that AFTRA members remain united and involved to maintain established standards and win improvements at the bargaining table across all TV day parts and formats,” she said.
This portion of the Network Code covers performers on dramatic programs in syndication or non-primetime, daytime serial dramas, as well as non-dramatic shows, such as game shows, talk shows, variety and musical programs, news, sports, reality shows, and promotional announcements. Programs such as “Good Morning America,” “The View,” “The Price is Right,” “Days of Our Lives,” “Oprah,” “Cake,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “American Idol,” “20/20,” “Deal or No Deal,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” and “Last Call with Carson Daly” are some of the diverse forms of TV programming involved in this round of negotiations.
“If you total up all the hours of programming carried by the four networks, more than 80% is covered by an AFTRA contract, such as the Network Code or the primetime Exhibit A of the Code,” Reardon said.
Over the next six weeks in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, Miami, and other markets with AFTRA Local unions, members will assess conditions for performers and develop proposals for programming covered by the Network Code.
Actors, singers, dancers, stunt persons, announcers, freelance newspersons and sportscasters, stand-ins, and other performers will meet through September to recommend specific proposals to Local unions’ wages and working conditions committees, which will evaluate and integrate the various proposals by early October. Recommendations from each Local will be combined into an overall package of proposals by the AFTRA National Wages and Working Conditions committee on October 18, and then reviewed for adoption by the AFTRA National Board on October 20.
“The AFTRA Network Code provided the first contract for actors in TV dramatic programming, and was the first in the industry to provide health and retirement benefits and paid residuals,” said Reardon. “AFTRA members are now looking to address the impact of new media platforms, improve working conditions on the set, and protect our health and retirement benefits.”
The AFTRA network TV contracts also affect terms and conditions for performers on basic cable TV. “Both the Network Code and Primetime Exhibit A of the Code serve as the foundation for basic cable TV agreements, so improved standards that AFTRA members set now on TV will benefit performers working in basic cable in the future,” Reardon said.
For information and updates about the Network Code wages and working conditions process, contact the nearest AFTRA Local union or visit www.aftra.com/negotiations.
Terms for AFTRA primetime network TV dramas and situation comedies—such as “'Til Death,” “Viva Laughlin,” and “Rules of Engagement”—are covered by Exhibit A of the Network Code and are negotiated separately. Terms for Exhibit A will be up in June 2008.
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America. More than 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists are moving forward together through AFTRA to protect and improve our jobs, lives, and communities. AFTRA members embrace change in society—from new culture to new technology—and incorporate change in our work and craft. AFTRA celebrates and thrives on the diversity of our members and the work we do. AFTRA opens a whole new world of opportunities for success for professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists. In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, journalists, dancers, singers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audio books, non-broadcast industrials, interactive games, the Internet, and other digital media. Visit AFTRA at www.aftra.com.