Termination by SAG of Joint Bargaining Prompts AFTRA to
Call for Guild to Rescind ‘Material Breach’ of Contract
LOS ANGELES and NEW YORK (October 22, 2007)—The termination by Screen Actors Guild of the 26-year-old joint bargaining agreement with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists prompted the AFTRA National Board Saturday to “strongly urge” that the SAG National Board rescind its action that caused the “material breach” of the Phase I Agreement between the two unions. Click here to read the full motion approved by the National Board>>
“The interests of performers must be the number one priority of our unions and the upcoming negotiations must be our main focus. The time is long past for SAG to affirm the letter and spirit of Phase I and reverse its decision to institute ‘bloc voting,’ a decision which effectively terminates the Phase I Agreement,” said Roberta Reardon, AFTRA National President.
Although the SAG board had voted to institute bloc voting in late July, it was not until October that SAG staff confirmed to AFTRA the specifics of the vote of the SAG National Board on bloc voting.
“The Phase I Agreement is clear that ‘Each member of the [negotiating] Committee will have one vote in each and every ballot taken.’ Bloc voting clearly violates the language of the agreement, is in direct contravention of the long practice of the operation of the agreement, and flies in the face of the original intent of this agreement,” said Reardon. “There is no other conclusion than that SAG has unfortunately terminated the joint bargaining agreement.”
In addition to the call to the guild board to rescind bloc voting at its meeting set for Saturday, the motion by the AFTRA National Board—approved in a nearly-unanimous recorded vote—urged the guild to affirm the “spirit and letter” of the Phase I Agreement as a good faith partner and return to discussions with AFTRA over areas of mutual concern that have been suspended since the last meeting on June 28.
The AFTRA National Board also approved appointments to a steering committee to guide scheduling and other aspects of the negotiation process for primetime dramatic TV. “We have a responsibility to AFTRA members to be ready to bargain with employers over our long-standing contract for primetime network dramatic programming,” Reardon said.
The board approved proposals for upcoming negotiation of AFTRA’s National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting (the so-called “Front of the Book”), which expires January 31, 2008. These terms cover all programming other than primetime network dramatic, such as variety, daytime drama, reality, games, sports, talk, and other programming.
In other action, the AFTRA National Board:
• Adopted policy recommendations from the Legislative and Public Affairs Committee on federal child protection laws, production incentives, and mislabeling of employee-independent contractor status.
• Learned that consolidation of office space in New York due to the move of national headquarters to Los Angeles will result in savings of $2.3 million over nine years.
The AFTRA National Board met in plenary session by videoconference between boardrooms in Los Angeles and New York. The next meeting of the board is scheduled for February 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.