AFTRA warns against 'hijacked negotiations'


American Federation of Television and Radio Artists national president Roberta Reardon has sent an email to members warning them not to "let a few hijack our negotiations." Reardon's plea comes in response to the widening rift between AFTRA and the Screen Actors Guild over disparate contracts the unions sign with individual basic-cable shows. Many SAG members and guild leaders contend AFTRA's contracts offer lower, unfair rates for actors' pay and residuals, thereby undercutting SAG's contracts.

According to an AFTRA statement, Reardon's email is a direct response to SAG national executive director Doug Allen's 12-page report that details significant differences between guild and AFTRA contracts for basic-cable programs. Allen's report will be published as a letter in an upcoming issue of Screen Actor, the guild's quarterly magazine. More details about that letter can be found here.

"At a time when AFTRA and Screen Actors Guild should be uniting, forces in our sister union are trying to drive us apart," wrote Reardon. "This latest attack is not only false, but worse, diverts attention from the most critical issue facing all performers: preparing for the 2008 negotiations of the TV, industrial, and commercials contracts."

Reardon's email comes on the heels of a full-page ad sponsored by the union that recently ran in Back Stage, The Hollywood Reporter, and Daily Variety. The so-called "joint statement of unity" was signed by 250 members including Bradley Whitford, Jay Leno, and Vivica A. Fox advocated for a merger of the two performers' unions.

SAG representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Lauren Horwitch is news editor of Back Stage West.