AFTRA and non-broadcast producers extend contract providing rates, benefits increases

National AFTRA and non-broadcast producers reached an agreement for an 18-month extension to the contract that covers on-camera/voiceover for business videos and new media-distributed informational and promotional messages.

The deal includes a 3% general rate increase and a one-half percent increase in the contribution rates into the union’s health and retirement funds equaling the commercials contract rate of 14.8%.

The 18-month extended pact became effective on May 1, 2008, when the current contract expired, and remains in full force until midnight Oct. 31, 2009 when negotiations begin anew for another three years.

Calling it a “nuts-and-bolts contract,” local AFTRA executive director Eileen Willenborg said, “The extension means we have ongoing relationships without interruption” of services. She added, “We hope to grow work for our local members through more organizing” of corporations that are significant employers of AFTRA performers.

SAG/AFTRA has a combined membership of approximately 4,500 among branches in the six states of Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois.

Willenborg added that the AFTRA Network Code, which covers daytime TV ? soaps, game, talk, reality and game shows, was ratified last week, covering Locally, Oprah, Jerry Springer and the Judge Mathis shows operate under the Netcode.

National AFTRA president Roberta Reardon note, “AFTRA members are pleased that this agreement was reached in a fair and expeditious manner. It is an ongoing challenge to balance the needs of working performers and the reality of this industry, which operates under a business model different from traditional media.”

Said Lee Gluckman chief industry contract negotiator with AFTRA and SAG: “We are pleased that we could come to a mutually agreeable contract extension that continues to allow all types of media to grow for the benefit of the industry and performers alike.”

L.A.-based Gluckman, incidentally, is a former Chicago producer and since 2001 has beenCEO of the international Mobius Awards.