LOS ANGELES (April 2, 2008) – Roberta Reardon, National President of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, made the following statement regarding the commencement of negotiations with employers on the Primetime TV Agreement/Exhibit A to the AFTRA Network Code:
“In order to advance the interests of all performers, out of concern for the health of the entertainment industry, and in the spirit of union solidarity, AFTRA has decided to commence negotiations with the AMPTP on April 28. AFTRA is committed above all to improving and protecting the working lives of AFTRA performers, and in this spirit we have been focused on moving forward to negotiate the best possible contract for our members as soon as possible. Our issues with the leadership of the Screen Actors Guild are a matter of record, as is our decision to negotiate a primetime television agreement on our own this year. Nonetheless we are also concerned about the wellbeing of SAG members—some 44,000 of whom also belong to AFTRA.
“The SAG leadership has now reversed its previous approach of postponing contract talks until the last minute—and last night publicly announced that they intend to start talks with the AMPTP on April 15. AFTRA has decided to let SAG go first because we feel it is in all of our interests for SAG to maintain its momentum and because we want to give the guild a reasonable opportunity to meet with the AMPTP. In our view, our proposed schedule should allow SAG sufficient time to work out a good deal with the studios. At the same time, we cannot abdicate our responsibility to our own members to engage with the employers in a strong, deliberate, and timely manner so we can negotiate the best possible agreement for primetime performers.”
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.