Pact breaks ground for satellite radio talent

The American Federation of Television & Radio Artists has reached its first contract agreement for their members who are heard as program hosts and announcers on the “Oprah & Friends” program on XM Satellite Radio Channel 156.

“This ground-breaking agreement is the first contract that provides union salaries, benefits, and working conditions for talent on a program only carried by satellite radio,” said Eileen Willenborg, AFTRA Chicago Local executive director.

AFTRA said the pact addresses compensation for program hosts and guests, including coverage for those who qualify for benefits from the AFTRA Health and Retirement Funds. Additional provisions include union security, grievance and arbitration, dues check-off, non-discrimination, late penalties, and the right to participate in pre-tax savings plans.

The pact is retroactive from Jan. 1 and expires Aug. 31, 2009.

There are currently nine program hosts and one announcer covered by the AFTRA agreement.

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