AFTRA to Start Network TV Code Talks on Nov. 7

Labor group’s biggest contract covers everything except primetime scripted TV on the broadcast networks

AFTRA announced Thursday that it has set a Nov. 7 start date for negotiations with ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox on a new Network Television Code contract.

It's the biggest contract the American Federation of TV and Radio Artist has, covering $250 million a year in employee earnings.

The deal covers all TV programming except scripted shows running on the major broadcast networks in prime time.

Here's the full AFTRA press release:


AFTRA Members to Commence Network Television Code Negotiations

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 3, 2011) – The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO – a national union of more than 70,000 performers, recording artists and broadcast professionals – today announced that negotiations with the four major television broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) and other producers for a successor agreement to the AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting will commence on Nov. 7.

Negotiations will be held at the offices of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers in Sherman Oaks, Calif., and bargaining is scheduled to continue through Dec. 18, 2011. The AFTRA Network Television Code is currently scheduled to expire on Nov. 15, but will be extended on a day-to-day basis for the duration of negotiations.

AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon will chair the 25-member negotiating committee comprised of working members from Locals around the nation. AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth will serve as Chief Negotiator for the Union. Joan Halpern Weise, AFTRA Assistant National Executive Director of Entertainment Programming and Stephen Burrow, AFTRA New York Local Executive Director, will serve as co-negotiators.

The Network Code is the Union’s largest national collective bargaining agreement and generates more than $250 million a year in member earnings. The Network Code covers programming in all television day parts, except for scripted primetime programs on the networks and the CW, which are covered under the AFTRA Exhibit A Agreement. Covered programs include dramas in first-run syndication, morning news shows, talk shows, serials (soap operas), variety, reality, contest, sports and promotional announcements. Current programs covered by this contract include: “Good Morning America,” “The View,” “The Price is Right,” “General Hospital,” “Saturday Night Live,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “The Voice,” “Survivor,” “20/20,” “Deal or No Deal,” “Late Show with David Letterman,” “American Idol” among many others.

Beginning Nov. 7, a press blackout will remain in effect for the duration of Network Television Code negotiations.

AFTRA members are also currently engaged in negotiations with representatives from Sony, UMG, Warner, EMI, Disney and most of their subsidiary labels for a successor agreement to the AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Sound Recordings.

On Oct. 7, the Union announced that despite more than a month and a half of good faith bargaining with the record labels, the AFTRA Negotiating Committee was not able to reach a fair agreement with the record labels that addresses key issues for recording artists. The AFTRA National Board has unanimously authorized the Negotiating Committee to take all actions necessary, up to and including proceeding to a strike authorization vote of the affected members, if necessary. No dates for a return to bargaining are scheduled at this time.