AFTRA Inks AMPTP Accord

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The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists has reached a contract settlement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, a move that allows negotiations to reopen today with the Screen Actors Guild.

The AFTRA agreement has terms similar to those previously negotiated with the Writers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America. For instance, the union's 70,000 members increase minimum wages by 3.5% on July 1, with another increase of 3% on July 1, 2009 and a 3.5% increase on July 1, 2010. 


The tentative three-year pact also calls for payment for all non-promotional uses in new media. Contributions to members' pension and health fund increase by 0.5% on July 2, eventually rising to 15%, according to AFTRA.


AFTRA represents some primetime cable shows, including Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Flight of the Conchords and broadcast shows including Rules of Engagement and Cashmere Mafia. The AFTRA pact must be ratified in national meetings planned June 6-7.


"Both AMPTP and AFTRA were challenged during these talks to find a way to fairly and sensibly tailor our industry's new media framework to meet the needs of actors. As a result of compromise and creativity by both parties, we reached an agreement that makes the new media framework work for all actors," said the AMPTP in a statement.


The AMPTP said it now looks forward to the resumption of talks with SAG, which were broken off May 6 in order to focus on AFTRA. The SAG primetime drama deal expires on June 30.


SAG president Alan Rosenberg issued a letter to members May 27, noting the issues that will be at the forefront of the resumed negotiations: the rights of actors to approve or deny the use of clips on the Internet; the amount of DVD residuals; and whether actors earn a portion of profits earned through series product integration. 


Also on the table is the future interpretation of force majeure contract provisions, which govern how deals will survive or end if a production stops due to an "act of God" or a strike by another union; SAG's desire for jurisdiction over new media productions, no matter how small the budget; and residuals for original new media productions.


SAG-AMPTP talks resume today.

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