AFTRA Reaches Tentative Deal with Producers
Deal Must Be Ratified by Rank-and-File Members of American Federation of Television and Radio Artists Before It Can Be Put Into Effect
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/10/2008 6:53:00 AM
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists reached a tentative agreement with producers and the networks on a new contract covering shows including American Idol, Late Show with David Letterman and Oprah.
The so-called Network Television Code covers all on- and off-camera talent for "syndicated dramas; daytime serials; game shows; talk shows; variety and musical programs; news; sports; reality shows; and promotional announcements." Not covered are primetime dramas and sitcoms, which are covered under a separate contract that expires in June.
AFTRA said the deal includes boosts in wages, residuals for Internet downloads, heath care and retirement contributions, including a 25% increase in overtime pay.
Consensus came quickly given that the talks were initially put off from January to last week as the studios worked to resolve the writers' strike, but when the strike was settled in mid-February, talks began Feb. 19 and a tentative new deal was arrived at March 8.
The deal must now be presented to AFTRA's national board, then to the rank-and-file for ratification, both of which are expected.
"This agreement is a major milestone for AFTRA as substantial gains in wages and working conditions for performers were successfully achieved," said AFTRA president Roberta Reardon, who chaired the negotiating committee, in announcing the deal Sunday. "This contract is extraordinary for performers and made significant progress on many fronts, including importantly new-media jurisdiction and compensation."
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