Deal covers performers on audiobooks

The American Federation of Television & Radio Artists has approved two pacts covering performers on audiobooks produced by John McElroy Production and Talent Services and Mind Wings Audio.

AFTRA said Thursday that the administrative committee of its national board had unanimously OK’d the three-year pacts. The agreements go into effect June 1 and establish minimum rates and employer contributions to the AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds.

AFTRA members approved an agreement in January to cover performers working on audiobooks produced by Audible.com, an online distributor of audiobooks.

The administrative committee also approved a three-year extension to AFTRA’s agreement with Retirement Living TV, which expired on Dec. 31. The new pact includes a 3% annual increase in compensation and an increase in employer contributions to health and retirement from 14.1% to 15% at the end of the second year.

AFTRA noted that since the first contract with Retirement Living went into effect in 2006, it’s generated more than $2 million in earnings for AFTRA members.

AFTRA also announced it has appointed a Non-Broadcast/Industrial/Educational Steering Committee to prepare for renegotiation of that pact, which expires Oct. 31. Spokesman Chris de Haan said the union hasn’t decided yet whether the pact will be negotiated jointly with the Screen Actors Guild.

AFTRA angrily split with SAG last spring on joint negotiations on its primetime contract, but the unions patched up their relationship in the fall and jointly negotiated the commercials contract.

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