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AFTRA Members Applaud Gov. Paterson for Signing the
‘Broadcast Employees Freedom to Work’ Act

NEW YORK (August 7, 2008)Members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists who had contributed their hard work and effort in support of the “Broadcast Employees Freedom to Work Act” hailed New York Governor David A. Paterson for signing the new law yesterday. <>

“On behalf of AFTRA New York members, my heartfelt thanks and deep respect go out to Gov. Paterson for signing the ‘Broadcast Employees Freedom to Work Act’ into law,” said Holter Graham, AFTRA New York Local President. “AFTRA members and staff worked hard on behalf of this law, which prohibits unfair restrictions in contracts that forced many of our broadcasters in New York to move from their home state or leave broadcasting altogether. Finally AFTRA members' right to work is protected—and the public can continue to enjoy the work of their trusted broadcasters.”

AFTRA member and Rochester broadcaster Rachel Barnhart said, “I thank Gov. Paterson for signing this new law that bans enforcement of non-compete provisions in broadcasters’ contracts. This is a great day for the lives and careers of all broadcasters in New York—and goes a long way to keeping great journalists in the communities they serve. This new law will prevent other broadcasters from experiencing the same pain and suffering I experienced when I was denied the right to work in my chosen profession because of a non-compete provision.”

AFTRA members made hundreds of phone calls and sent almost 500 emails to Gov. Paterson over the past week in support of the legislation that had been approved by the New York State Assembly in May and by the state Senate in June. AFTRA members had also testified at committee hearings and sent letters to state legislators to win passage of the bills.
In addition, AFTRA received critical support by the New York State AFL-CIO—and AFTRA members were joined by members of NABET-CWA in urging both the legislature and the governor to take action on this bill.
“This is not only a victory for New York's AFTRA members, but for working people throughout the state,” said Graham. “We appreciate the support and action from members of the labor community in helping us protect New York workers.”

Creating laws to ban non-compete provisions in broadcasters’ contract is a legislative priority of AFTRA members across the country. Non-competes are already banned in California, and AFTRA members have worked to successfully pass legislation that eliminates non-compete clauses in broadcast contracts in Connecticut, Arizona, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C.