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AFTRA officials approve Hollywood contract

June 7, 2008 7:17:50 PM PDT
Leaders of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists approved a new contract with Hollywood studios that grants actors more money for Internet work - an issue that sparked a crippling writers' strike earlier this year. AFTRA's board approved the three-year deal late Friday and it will go to the union's 70,000 members for ratification later this month, the union announced Saturday.

The deal covers only a handful of prime-time TV shows, including HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm," the CBS drama "Rules of Engagement," and ABC's "Cashmere Mafia."

The 120,000-member Screen Actors Guild, which is the larger and more combative of Hollywood's two actor unions, still is negotiating with the studios. It still has the power to shut down Hollywood film production.

The AFTRA agreement largely followed a script laid out in contracts approved by directors in January and by writers after their 100-day strike ended in February.

It established higher fees for downloaded content and residual payments for ad-supported streams and clips.

It also sets a 90-day deadline after ratification for developing a system for actors to consent to the online use of clips containing their images or voices.

SAG had pushed for more concessions by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and still has the power to shut down film production.

The two unions had agreed to the same starting proposals but took different tacks with the studios - the first time they had negotiated separately for the first time in 27 years.

In its statement, AFTRA said its board rejected a SAG request to delay ratification of the new contract until the other union concluded its own contract negotiations.

In a measure of the rift between the two unions, AFTRA's board warned that it might pursue "legal remedies" if SAG tried to "undermine or interfere with our ratification process."

 

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