Monday, March 10, 2008

AFTRA reaches tentative agreement on Network TV Code

Here's a press release from AFTRA:


American Federation of Television and Radio Artists

For Immediate Release: MARCH 9, 2008


LOS ANGELES -- The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists--the
national labor union of 70,000 actors, singers and recording artists, dancers,
announcers, and other broadcast talent--has reached a tentative agreement
with the four major television networks and producers on the Network
Television Code, which is subject to AFTRA National Board approval and
ratification from members.

"This agreement is a major milestone for AFTRA as substantial gains in wages
and working conditions for performers were successfully achieved," said
Roberta Reardon, AFTRA President and Chair of the Negotiating
Committee. "This contract is extraordinary for performers and made significant
progress on many fronts, including importantly new media jurisdiction and

The new agreement contains solid increases in wage rates for all categories,
increased contributions for the AFTRA Health and Retirement plan, and
addresses discrete issues affecting every category of performer. In addition,
the agreement preserves significant principles which are a hallmark of AFTRA
contracts--such as universal coverage of background performers and
contract security for daytime serial contract players.

Highlights of the new agreement include:
-- Increases program fees each year of contract.
-- Increases "extra rehearsal" and overtime rates by 25%.
-- Beginning November 2008, establishes 1-day, 3-day and weekly rates (as
provided in AFTRA's primetime contract) for principal performers in non-prime
time and syndicated dramatic programs (other than serials).
-- Retains universal coverage for background actors in all formats, including
dramatic programs and daytime serials.
-- Raises minimum call provisions for Singers and Stand-Ins.
-- Establishes new residuals structures for paid Internet downloads
(electronic sell-through) that increases the rate currently paid by employers,
and establishes residual rates for ad-supported streaming and use of clips on
the Internet.
-- Establishes union coverage and terms for entertainment programming and
promotional announcements made directly for new media.
-- Reduces the "reconciliation period" from 26 weeks to 2 weeks for
freelance daytime performers in recurring roles.
-- Raises exclusivity thresholds for performers under contract.
-- Establishes a day rate for Dancers on Awards programs.
-- Guarantees Health and Retirement coverage for Stunt Coordinators on
serial dramas.
-- Establishes new limitations on crediting overscale against overtime.
-- Increases employer contribution rates to the AFTRA Health and
Retirement plans.

Terms for original dramatic programs made directly for new media will be
negotiated during AFTRA's "Exhibit A" negotiations for primetime dramatic

"Our fundamental goal in these negotiations was to protect performers'
interests and improve their wages and working conditions in the face of
challenging times," said AFTRA Network Code Negotiating Committee Co-Chair
and Los Angeles Local President Ron Morgan. "Our priorities were to modernize
certain aspects of our contract and establish a framework for union members
to participate in new media as these businesses evolve."

The AFTRA Network TV Code 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. Programs covered by the
Code include diverse programs such as "Good Morning
America," "20/20," "American Idol," "The View," "The Tonight Show," "Late
Show with David Letterman," "Oprah," "The Price is Right," "Deal or No
Deal," "Days of Our Lives," "The Bold and the Beautiful," All My
Children, "Cake," "Saturday Night Live," "Entertainment Tonight,"
and "Survivor."

Formal negotiations between members of AFTRA's 35-person Negotiating
Committee and the networks and producers began February 19 in Los
Angeles, and were concluded on the evening of Saturday, March 8, in New

Representatives of the following organizations attended one or more of the
sessions: American Federation of Musicians, Actors' Equity Association,
Writers Guild of America, East, Directors Guild of America, Screen Actors
Guild, and AFTRA's strategic partner, the International Alliance of Theatrical
Stage Employees.

Members of other important sectors of the industry--promo announcers,
daytime drama contract players, stunt performers and coordinators, and
rehearsal actors--also attended negotiation sessions. These negotiations
were preceded by months of informal discussions, preparation, and research
by union staff and consultants.

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.

Details of the new agreement will be submitted to the AFTRA National Board
for approval at the end of the month, and if approved, to membership
ratification thereafter.


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 over 30
Locals 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


  1. Yes, but what do you think of it?

  2. No way to tell - not enough detail in the press release.

  3. Where did you get this press release? I'm a member of AFTRA and I have not heard directly from them. Only from your blog and official news sources.

    See my blog for my take on this.

  4. Hey Jonathan,

    I finally received official information from AFTRA this morning. The details of the tentative agreement are here.

    Would love to know your take.