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AFTRA Improves Nickelodeon Pact

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The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists' board of directors has signed a new agreement with the production arm of the Nickelodeon cable TV network that significantly raises rates for performers working on the network.

The board approved the agreement July 17 during AFTRA's two-day plenary meeting -- the first full plenary presided over by the union's new national president Roberta Reardon. According to an AFTRA press release, the new contract also extends its coverage to all dramatic and comedy variety shows on the cable net.

"Over the last 17 years, AFTRA members have taken Nickelodeon from being a nonunion network to one with almost full coverage by AFTRA contracts with strong union standards for all performers," Reardon said in the statement. "This agreement is a tremendous step forward."

The board also elected Los Angeles actor Matthew Kimbrough to serve as a trustee of the AFTRA Health and Retirement Funds. Kimbrough (The Astronaut Farmer, American Beauty), who has served as AFTRA national recording secretary and on the union's L.A. local board, will replace former AFTRA national president John Connolly on the Funds' board.

AFTRA's 70th Anniversary National Convention begins tomorrow in Philadelphia.

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