AFTRA nat'l board thinking ahead

Extends net code deal to allow time for WGA's talks

AFTRA said Monday that its board has voted to extend the so-called network code agreement — covering various categories of television performances — to Jan. 31.

The move, taken at a Saturday meeting of the 70,000-member union's national board, extends the current pact beyond a scheduled expiration of Nov. 15. As announced Sunday, the board also elevated second national vp Roberta Reardon to AFTRA president until July (HR 4/30).

AFTRA national executive director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth said the network code extension is designed to allow time for negotiations between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers to conclude. Talks with the AMPTP on the writers guild's film and TV contract are set to begin in July, with the current pact to expire Oct. 31.

"Moving our negotiating schedule back minimizes the potential for scheduling conflicts should the WGA and the industry need additional time to conclude negotiations on the WGA contract beyond its expiration date," Hedgpeth said.

The network code is shorthand for AFTRA's National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting. It covers such programming as daytime dramas, game and talk shows, sports and reality programs, some cable shows and syndicated fare.

TV news anchors and reporters are covered under a separate AFTRA news contract, which runs through May 15, 2008. Other AFTRA primetime work, involving live programs and programming recorded digitally and on videotape, is covered under a SAG/AFTRA film and TV pact running through June 2008.