Musicians union strikes deal with nets

AFM reaches three-year agreement on succcessor contract

The American Federation of Musicians has reached a three-year deal on a successor contract with ABC, CBS and NBC covering live and recorded shows.

The TV/videotape pact covers musicians on weekly variety shows such as “Dancing with the Stars” and house bands and guest artists on late night programs including “Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

Negotiations began in September. Members of AFM Local 47 (Los Angeles) and AFM Local 802 (New York City) staged protests outside tapings of several shows on Oct. 2, asserting that seven years had passed since the networks had agreed to wage and health care increases. At the time, AFM Local 47 vice-president John Acosta told Variety that the networks had demanded “major concessions” before they would even discuss wage hikes. Fox (which airs “American Idol”) and other production companies routinely sign on to the deal by the big three networks.

Other shows covered by the videotape agreement include “Saturday Night Live,” “The X Factor,” “The Voice,” the Oscars, Emmys and other awards shows.

“The path to this agreement was arduous,” said AFM President Ray Hair in a statement last week. “I cannot praise too highly the steadfast work of our negotiating team in protecting the interests of our musicians and the talent they bring to the television industry.”

The new agreement includes basic wage rate increases, increased pension and health and welfare contributions and new media provisions requiring supplemental payments when TV shows are used or reused in webcasts or online.

The AFM said it began negotiations with employers for a successor agreement covering work in movies and telefilms on Nov. 2. The contract expires Feb. 23.

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