After two-month halt, negotiations to restart next week in NYC

Negotiations between the record labels and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists are set to resume next week — more than two months after those talks broke down.

AFTRA made the disclosure Friday night as part of its announcement that it had reached a tentative deal on its network code contract with the four networks.

AFTRA said that it would hold talks with the labels on Wednesday and Thursday in New York City. Current contract expires Dec. 31.

The union’s national board had voted unanimously in late September to give the sound recordings negotiating committee a strike authorization, then announced on Oct. 7 that talks had collapsed.

“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 had said on Oct. 7.

The union had also said in October that it was willing to resume talks if the companies improved their offer.

Negotiations between AFTRA and representatives from Sony, UMG, Warner, EMI, Disney and most of their subsidiary labels for a successor agreement took place 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 subsequently extended by 18 months to the Dec. 31 expiration.

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