AFTRA sets groundwork for new pact


AFTRA has set a series of caucus meetings to hash out negotiating positions in advance of the performer union's "network code" contract talks set to begin in January.

The network code -- jargon coined when AFTRA struck "code agreements" encompassing a range of radio performances -- covers AFTRA members working in nonprimetime programming on broadcast and also primetime nondramatic shows. Talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers are expected to begin in January, with the current collective bargaining agreement set to expire Jan. 30.

AFTRA said Friday that it will stage member caucuses in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington and Miami to "assess conditions for performers and develop proposals for programming covered by the network code," officials said.

"It's extremely important that AFTRA members remain united and involved to maintain established standards and win improvements at the bargaining table across all TV dayparts and formats," AFTRA president Roberta Reardon said.

The network code -- which covers such programming as soaps, game and talk shows, variety programs, news and sports, reality shows and promos -- had been set to expire Nov. 15. But the three-year pact was extended to avoid possible overlap in negotiations with contract talks between the AMPTP and the WGA, whose main film and TV contract expires Oct. 31.

Some members of AFTRA -- which has 70,000 members overall -- are covered in a primetime contract with the AMPTP that's negotiated jointly with SAG. The primetime pact expires June 30.