AFTRA, AMPTP strike deal for Primetime


The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, representing 70,000 members, has reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on a new three-year primetime television contract. The agreement is subject to approval by AFTRA’s National Board and ratification by the union’s membership.

* Establishing wage increases in traditional media in each year of the contract. 

* Increasing employer contributions to the AFTRA Health and Retirement plan.

* Establishing jurisdiction over programs produced for distribution on the Internet and New Media.

* Establishing new residual structures for paid Internet downloads (electronic sell-through) that significantly increase current rates and establish residual rates for ad-supported streaming and use of clips on the Internet.

* Preserving performers’ consent for non-promotional New Media use of excerpts of traditional TV shows.

* Establishing a sunset provision that allows both sides to revisit New Media.

* Increasing the number of covered background actors in LA.

* Securing rest provisions for background performers in LA.

* Renewing and codifying turnaround provisions for stunt coordinators.

Improving the terms and conditions for performers who work under the CW contract (formerly WB/UPN supplement).

AFTRA primetime TV dramas and situation comedies include: “Rules of Engagement," "Cashmere Mafia," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Flight of the Conchords," "Dante’s Cove," “Til Death," “Reaper,” and new CBS situation comedy “Project Gary” and drama “Harper’s Island" and the ABC comedy “Roman’s Empire.” The current contract expires on 6/30.

Details of the new agreement will be submitted to the AFTRA National Board at meetings scheduled for June 6-7 in LA. If approved, the pact will be submitted to AFTRA’s membership for ratification. The new three-year deal will be effective from 7/1/08 through 6/30/11.

Formal negotiations between AFTRA’s 31-member Primetime Negotiating Committee and the AMPTP began 5/7 in LA. Talks were preceded by months of informal discussions and research by union staff and consultants. AFTRA twice delayed the scheduled start of its primetime negotiations to allow the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) to continue its primetime/theatrical talks (which began on April 15).

Wage Increases
·         Increases minimums by 3.5% effective July 1, 2008, by an additional 3% effective July 1, 2009, and by an additional 3.5% effective July 1, 2010.
·         Increases the network primetime ceilings (as incorporated in Exhibit A and in the WB/UPN Supplement for one-hour programs) by 2.5% effective July 1, 2008 and by 2.5% effective 7/1/10.
New Media
·         The New Media provisions follow the pattern already established in the DGA, WGA, and AFTRA Network Code agreements.
·         Provides for payment for all non-promotional uses in New Media. 
·         Confirms jurisdiction for programs produced for initial exhibition on the Internet and other New Media.
·         Establishes jurisdiction over derivative New Media programs that are based on current programs.
·         Establishes coverage of all original programs with budgets of more than $15,000/minute or $300,000/program or $500,000/series, whichever is lowest.
·         Establishes coverage of original content below the thresholds when a covered performer is employed.
·         Establishes new residual structures for paid Internet downloads (electronic sell-through) that significantly increase current rates and establish residual rates for ad-supported streaming and use of clips on the Internet.
·         Gives AFTRA the ability to audit unredacted license, distribution, and other agreements pertaining to New Media.
·         Allows both sides to revisit New Media when the agreement expires.
Consent in New Media
·         Preserves performers’ consent for use of non-promotional use in New Media of excerpts from traditional TV shows.
·         Provides that the employers and AFTRA develop a mechanism by which performers can provide or withhold consent for non-promotional use of excerpts for New Media from the industry employers’ TV library.
·         For programs produced after July 1, 2008, the employer and the performer may bargain for consent for the right to use non-promotional excerpts of traditional TV shows in New Media at the time of original employment.