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.”

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.