TV actors reach labour deal with producers
A union representing thousands of TV actors agreed to a new contract deal Wednesday with the Hollywood studios, the dpa reported.
The agreement by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) followed similar deals with screenwriters and directors, and puts pressure on the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), which represents most movie and prime time actors, to come to terms with movie producers.
The tentative accord came after nearly three weeks of negotiations and was modeled on the pact that ended the 100-day writers strike in February.
"This is a challenging time in the entertainment industry, and this was a tough negotiation," said AFTRA President Roberta Reardon. "Our ability to achieve these crucial breakthroughs for performers was a direct result of AFTRA members' pragmatic approach to collective bargaining."
The proposed agreement increases the pay actors receive from movies and TV shows sold online and establishes payments for programmes streamed online. It also guarantees the union's jurisdiction over shows created for the Web that cost more than 15,000 dollars a minute.
The contract also establishes wage increases in traditional media over the next three years and includes an increase in employer contributions to AFTRA's health and retirement plan.
In a statement, the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers said both sides 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."
The Screen Actors Guild is due to resume negotiations with producers Wednesday. Parts of the proposed AFTRA contract could undercut some of SAG's initial bargaining demands, which claim that the thresholds would exclude too many Web shows, and open the door to a pool of nonunion work.
SAG and AFTRA had planned to bargain jointly, as they had for 27 years, but a yearlong rift over new media content tore the unions apart last month. Some 44,000 of SAG's 120,000 members are also members of AFTRA.