AFTRA Ratifies Agreement with ABC, CBS on Network News Contract
LOS ANGELES (March 19, 2008) – Members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists—the national labor union of more than more 70,000 performers, journalists, broadcasters, recording artists, and other talent working in the entertainment and news media—ratified contracts with ABC and CBS on their respective Network Staff Newspersons’ Agreements this past month. The agreements cover on-air journalists at the network divisions of ABC and CBS, including news anchors, correspondents and reporters.
“These agreements are a big step forward for broadcast journalists as they improve wages and benefits,” said AFTRA President Roberta Reardon. “Given the state of the broadcast industry and emerging new media platforms in particular, the new agreements with ABC and CBS protect AFTRA members as they work in the digital landscape, and secure current contract protections.”
“We engaged in early discussions with ABC and CBS and our prudent efforts paid off. AFTRA members were successful in improving wages and benefits and protecting their work in new media with no diminution of any current contract protections,” said AFTRA National Director News/Broadcast Debra Osofsky.
Highlights of the agreements include pay increases for network staff newspersons and fee increases for network freelance correspondents, improvements in pension coverage, and coverage for work by members in new digital platforms. The agreements were approved by the AFTRA National Board Administrative Committee last week after the terms had been ratified by the affected members.
The new two-year deal takes effect on May 16, 2008, allowing for a seamless transition from the current agreement that expires on May 15.
The Network News agreements mark the third contract AFTRA has successfully negotiated this year for its members. In February, AFTRA reached a tentative agreement with the recording industry on the AFTRA Sound Recordings Code. The national contract covers royalty artists and session singers who work with the more than 1,200 recording companies, including the four major labels—EMI, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, and Warner—and most of their subsidiary labels. In addition to popular music in all genres, the Sound Recordings Code covers classical recordings, Broadway cast albums, Latin recordings, and spoken word recordings, including audio books.
AFTRA also recently reached a tentative agreement with the four major television networks and producers on the Network Television Code, which covers actors and all on-camera and off-camera talent on all forms of television programming: syndicated dramas, daytime serials, game shows, talk shows, variety and musical programs, news, sports, reality shows, and promotional announcements.
Terms for AFTRA primetime network TV dramas and situation comedies – such as “Rules of Engagement,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and "Til Death" – are covered by Exhibit A of the Network Code and are negotiated separately. The current Exhibit A terms will be up for renegotiation in June 2008.
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, is a national labor union of over 70,000 actors, singers and recording artists, dancers, announcers and other broadcast talent performers, journalists, and other artists working in the entertainment and news media. With more than 30 local chapters across the country, AFTRA promotes the success and welfare of members in a variety of ways, including contract negotiation and enforcement, advocating on legislative and public policy issues, supporting equal employment opportunities, and sponsoring or supporting health and retirement benefits and programs. For more information, visit http://www.aftra.com.