First, here’s the AFTRA’s press release with that guild’s statement by president Roberta Reardon. Then below it is SAG president Alan Rosenberg’s statement. At the very bottom is the AMPTP’s statement. (I’ll have my own analysis later…)
From AFTRA tonight:
LOS ANGELES (July 8, 2008) – The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) announced today that AFTRA members ratified a new three-year primetime television agreement (Exhibit A of the AFTRA Network Television Code) reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) by a 62.4% margin.
AFTRA—the nation’s second largest performers’ union—represents more than 70,000 actors, recording artists, broadcasters, and other talent working in the entertainment and media industries.
AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon made the following statement: “Today’s vote reflects the ability of AFTRA members to recognize a solid contract when they see it. Despite an unprecedented disinformation campaign aimed at interfering with our ratification process, a majority of members ultimately focused on what mattered—the obvious merits of a labor agreement that contains substantial gains for every category of performer in both traditional and new media.
“Clearly, this was not a typical ratification process, and it would be disingenuous to pretend otherwise. To those of us for whom labor solidarity is more than just a slogan, the idea that politically-motivated leaders of one union would use their members’ dues to attack another union is unconscionable. Working people do not benefit when their union is under attack.
“For the sake of our members, organized labor must be united, especially in a world of ever-increasing corporate consolidation. Given this, AFTRA leadership is eager to focus on several important initiatives in the months to come: Building on the suggestion of our valued supporters, we will seek to organize a summit of top actors, performers, and union leaders to engage in a thoughtful, constructive discussion of how we can achieve unity among performers—and ultimately, if feasible, merger of the performers’ unions.
“Given that working men and women accomplish more when we work together with trust and mutual respect, we will ask the leadership of the AFL-CIO AEMI ICC unions, the DGA, WGA and others in the labor community to come together well in advance of the next round of contract negotiations to explore ways of maximizing the leverage of entertainment industry workers.
“Finally, I intend to promptly review with our National elected leadership and the Presidents of all AFTRA Locals the conditions needed to restore trust to re-establish joint bargaining on our respective commercials contracts.
“I sincerely appreciate the committed work of the negotiating committee, elected leaders, the labor community, and individual activist members of AFTRA who worked tirelessly and publicly to secure this solid contract for television industry performers. I am especially grateful for the support of many joint members of SAG and AFTRA—such as those in Chicago, Florida, Houston, Nashville, New York, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle—who displayed courage in the face of potential retribution, by taking a stand against disunity with the power of truth and solidarity.”
Negotiations with the AMPTP over the AFTRA Primetime TV contract began on May 7. They concluded on May 28 with a tentative agreement that was unanimously recommended for approval by AFTRA’s 31-member negotiating committee. The AFTRA National Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved the primetime television contract on June 7 and recommended the deal to members, which was ratified today. The new contract is effective from July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2011.
And here is SAG prez Alan Rosenberg’s statement:
Los Angeles, July 8, 2008 — Screen Actors Guild National President Alan Rosenberg released the following statement today: “Clearly many Screen Actors Guild members responded to our education and outreach campaign and voted against the inadequate AFTRA agreement. We knew AFTRA would appeal to its many AFTRA-only members, who are news people, sportscasters and DJs, to pass the tentative agreement covering acting jobs. In its materials, AFTRA focused that appeal on the importance of actor members’ increased contributions to help fund its broadcast members’ pension and health benefits.Screen Actors Guild is the actors union with more than 95% of the work under this contract, jurisdiction over all motion pictures, and over 4 billion dollars in member earnings under the SAG agreement over just the last three years.
We thank the over 4,500 proud SAG members from all over this country who have signed the “SAG Solidarity Statement,” in support of their negotiators. The Screen Actors Guild national negotiating committee remains committed to our core institutional mission to improve the lives of actors and their families.
We will continue to address the issues of importance to actors that AFTRA left on the table and we remain committed to achieving a fair contract for SAG actors.”
And, finally, this is what the AMPTP has to say:
We appreciate today’s vote of confidence by actors in the agreement we reached with AFTRA, and hope that it demonstrates to SAG’s Hollywood leadership that there is support for the new economic relationships we have built with writers, directors and actors — and not much support for a strike, whether de facto or real.With this AFTRA ratification announcement, our industry has now achieved four major labor agreements within the last five months. These agreements — which offer both meaningful economic gains and groundbreaking new media rights for directors, writers and AFTRA members — are the result of difficult negotiations and many compromises by all sides. We hope that SAG’s Hollywood leadership will allow SAG members to vote on AMPTP’s final offer – which would give SAG members more than $250 million in additional compensation and important new media rights.
(See my two SAG/AFTRA/AMPTP articles in LA Weekly: here and here.)
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