Current contract set to expire at end of 2011

Negotiations have broken down between the record labels and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists.

AFTRA made the announcement Friday, a week after its national board voted unanimously for giving the negotiating committee a strike authorization. The current contract expires on Dec. 31 and no new contract talks are scheduled.

“Despite more than a month and a half of good faith bargaining with the record labels, the AFTRA Sound Recordings Negotiating Committee has not been able to reach a fair agreement with the record labels that addresses key issues for recording artists, including health care and pension security and transparency of accounting,” AFTRA spokesman Christopher de Haan said. “No further bargaining sessions are scheduled at this time.”

AFTRA also said that it’s not currently on strike but noted that the negotiating committee has been given the power to ask for a strike authorization vote of the affected members, if necessary. The union also said that it’s willing to resume talks if the companies improve their offer.

“The AFTRA Negotiating Committee stands ready, willing and able to meet and receive a fair proposal from the major labels in order to resolve a fair contract for the session singers and royalty artists whose talents provide the music that keeps these multibillion dollar corporations in business,” AFTRA spokesman Christopher de Haan said.

Negotiations between AFTRA and representatives from Sony, UMG, Warner, EMI, Disney and most of their subsidiary labels for a successor agreement took plans in New York on Aug. 15, with an additional round of bargaining held in Los Angeles the week of Sept. 12-16.

The Sound Recordings Code generates more than $140 million in annual earnings for AFTRA members. It covers singers, royalty and non-royalty artists, as well as announcers, actors, comedians, narrators and sound effects artists who work on recordings in all new and traditional media and all music formats, in addition to audiobooks, comedy albums and cast albums.

The current contract was negotiated in 2007 with a June 2010 expiration but the pact was extended by 18 months.

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