AFTRA getting tough with record labels


The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) has gotten upset at the slow progress of contract talks with the major record labels. In a move to get the attention of the labels, the union’s national board of directors has voted unanimously to give the AFTRA negotiating committee authority to call a strike authorization vote, if needed to get the record labels to negotiate a new contract.

The Sound Recordings contract is the second biggest generator of income for AFTRA union members, at $140 million annually in earnings and benefits. It is topped only by the Network Television contract, which generates more than $300 million annually.

The current Sound Recordings contract expires December 31st. Negotiations between AFTRA and representatives from Sony, UMG, Warner, EMI, Disney and most of their subsidiary labels for a successor agreement began in New York on August 15th, with an additional round of bargaining held in Los Angeles the week of  September 12-16. An additional bargaining date has been set for this Wednesday, October 5th in an effort to resolve outstanding issues, the union said. AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth serves as Chief Negotiator for the Union. 
The Sound Recordings Code covers singers, royalty and non-royalty artists, as well as announcers, actors, comedians, narrators and sound effects artists who work on recordings in all new and traditional media and all music formats, in addition to audiobooks, comedy albums and cast albums.

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