AFTRA Board approves extension of Network Television Code


The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), a national union of more than 70,000 professional performers, recording artists and broadcast journalists, announced the AFTRA National Board of Directors unanimously approved a one-year extension to the AFTRA Network Television Code, which covers television programming except network dramatic primetime shows, at its annual full meeting in NYC.

The one-year extension agreement between AFTRA and the four major television broadcast networks and producers will cover the period of 11/16, 2010, to 11/15, 2011. It will include a 2% increase in minimum program fees, including background actors, and a 0.5% increase in employer contributions to the AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds – effective Jan. 1, 2011 and specifically devoted to the Retirement Fund – which will bring the total Network Code contribution rate to 15.6%.

Terms covering Network Code programs made-for and reused in new media will also be extended for one year and will remain unchanged. The National Board approved sending out the extension for ratification by membership meetings in the five major AFTRA Locals of Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington/Baltimore. Those meetings will occur in the coming weeks.

“This extension accomplishes three important goals for AFTRA members,” said AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon. “It secures critical increases in minimums and health and retirement benefits in the middle of a tough economy. It moves this contract out of our heavy 2010 negotiating cycle so we can conduct attentive Network Code wages and working conditions in mid-2011. It permits AFTRA members and staff to devote our resources to preparing for the upcoming joint negotiations with Screen Actors Guild on the AFTRA Exhibit A and SAG TV/Theatrical contracts. I applaud the Steering Committee and the National Board for their tenacity, vision and impressive show of union solidarity.”

The AFTRA Network Television Code covers programming in all television day parts, except for primetime dramatic programs on the networks. AFTRA members who work under this contract provide the talent that fuels more than 70% of the hours programmed by the major networks. It includes dramas in first-run syndication, morning news shows, midday talk and dramatic serials, primetime variety, reality, contest, sports and late night talk shows. 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,” among many others.

AFTRA members also currently in negotiations with ABC on a successor agreement to AFTRA’s ABC Network Staff Newspersons Agreement, which began 5/1. The union is also preparing for negotiations on a new AFTRA Sound Recordings Code, which is scheduled to begin on 6/16.