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AFTRA Reports Increased Membership, Revenue

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The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists reported increased membership and improved fiscal health at its annual face-to-face Plenary Board meeting this past weekend, according to a news release from the performers union.

AFTRA had 900 more members on May 1 than it did at the same time last year. (It reports a total membership of more than 70,000.) The union also stated that in the fiscal year that ended April 30, it took in about $26 million in revenue, or $800,000 more than its original projections. AFTRA, a nonprofit concern, is about $400,000 in the black, said spokesman John Hinrichs.

The union also announced the following:

-- In prime-time network broadcast television, more than 36 hours of programming are now produced under AFTRA contracts. (Three of the new shows are scripted, while the rest are reality programs, game shows, and news magazines.) In basic cable, more than 300 new shows, including pilots, specials, and series, have been signed to AFTRA contracts since June 2005.

-- CBS news correspondent David Browde and AFTRA New York local executive

director Stephen Burrow were elected as trustees of the Health and Retirement Funds.

-- The union's Health and Retirement Funds, which is a separate entity from the union, was in a solid position with $1.85 billion. The co-chair of the fund, Shelby Scott, said AFTRA was working to extend health benefits to domestic partners. Fund officials have also approved supplemental dental and vision benefits to those who don't participate in the health fund, and extended dental and vision benefits to the spouses of retirees.

-- Board members also elected Roberta Reardon and John Connolly to fill vacancies on the Board of Directors of the AFTRA Foundation, an independent foundation that supports charitable and educational initiatives that benefit AFTRA members and the industry as a whole.

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