AFTRA Members Ratify Network TV Code

The AFTRA Board approved the extension in early June and, during the past month, it had been ratified at membership meetings in AFTRA’s five largest markets. The process was completed this afternoon at the final meeting held in San Francisco. The following notice was just sent to AFTRA members:

AFTRA members have overwhelmingly voted to ratify a one-year extension to the 2007-2010 AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting (AFTRA Network Code “Front of the Book”) by a margin of 98% in favor to 2% against.
The extension was unanimously approved by the AFTRA National Board of Directors on June 11, and sent out for ratification by membership meetings in AFTRA’s five largest Locals of New York, San Francisco, Washington/Baltimore, Los Angeles and Chicago pursuant to Article XI, “Members’ Contracts,” of the AFTRA National Constitution and Bylaws. Voting commenced in Los Angeles on June 22 and concluded today, July 13, when the final membership meeting was held in San Francisco.
Terms of the extension include:

  1. Length of Extension – One year, from November 16, 2010, through November 15, 2011.
  2. Program Fees – Increase program fees by two (2%) per cent effective November 16, 2010, including daytime dramas and background actor rates.
  3. AFTRA H&R – Increase the contribution rate to the AFTRA H&R Funds by 0.5% effective January 1, 2011. This will bring the total H&R contribution (including AICF) from 15.1% to 15.6%. The additional percentage will be dedicated to the AFTRA Retirement Fund.
  4. Cooperative Committees – There will be an industry-union committee to discuss technical issues relating to the administration of non-serial scripted dramatic production, and a second committee to discuss the administration of the promo announcement provisions of the code, including the administration of “value added promotional announcements.”
  5. Sideletters – All sideletters to the Code, including terms covering Network Code programs made-for and reused in new media, will continue unchanged, except that the dates will be modified from November 15, 2010, to November 15, 2011.

The extension was unanimously recommended to the National Board by the AFTRA Network Code Steering Committee comprised of members who work the contract. The extension serves the purposes of providing increases in performers’ programs fees and H&R contributions during this one year extension, and clearing AFTRA’s negotiating schedule to permit joint bargaining this Fall with Screen Actors Guild on the AFTRA Exhibit A (Primetime TV) Contract and SAG TV/Theatrical Contract. Full wages and working conditions meetings to prepare for negotiations in late 2011 of the Network Code will begin in early 2011.

The AFTRA Network Television Code covers programming in all television day parts, except for primetime dramatic programs on the networks and the CW. It includes dramas in first-run syndication, morning news shows, talk shows, serials (soap operas), variety, reality, contest and sports. Current programs covered by this contract include “Good Morning America,” “The View,” “The Price is Right,” “Days of Our Lives,” “Saturday Night Live,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “American Idol,” “Survivor,” “20/20,” “Deal or No Deal,” “Late Show with David Letterman,” “America’s Most Wanted,” “Legend of the Seeker,” among many others.

Terms for scripted network primetime programming are covered by Exhibit A of the AFTRA Network Code and will be negotiated separately with the industry in joint negotiations with Screen Actors Guild scheduled to begin on Sept. 27, 2010. Nationwide joint wages & working conditions meetings are currently underway in preparation for the negotiation of the AFTRA Exhibit A and SAG TV/Theatrical contracts which expire on June 30, 2011.

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