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AFTRA extends pact to avoid clash

Expiration collides with WGA contract

Seeking to avoid a collision with the expiration of the Writers Guild contract, AFTRA leaders have extended the expiration of the union’s Network Television Code from Nov. 15 to Jan. 31.

The WGA pact expires Oct. 31. Negotiations on the scribes’ contract are set to start in mid-July, and they’re expected to be contentious.

Extension of the AFTRA pact, which covers all TV programming except network dramatic primetime, was approved Saturday by the national board of the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists. Move was recommended by AFTRA’s network code steering committee.

AFTRA national executive director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth said Monday, “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.”

The contract covering AFTRA’s network dramatic primetime programming will expire June 30, 2008. AFTRA negotiates those terms separately with the industry, in joint negotiations with SAG.

The national board also approved a National Public Radio (NPR Freelance) agreement, which contained increases in program rates and contributions to the AFTRA Health and Retirement Funds, retroactive to Oct. 1. It also filled two other positions that had been vacated by former prexy John Connolly — Patrika Darbo was elected to the board of the AFTRA Foundation and Jon Joyce was elected to serve as a trustee of the AFTRA/AFM Intellectual Property Trust Fund.

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