AFTRA, Teamsters Reach Deal

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The Teamsters won't be picketing any actors' unions after all.

Eleven American Federation of Television and Radio Artists employees represented by Teamsters Local 399 have agreed to a new contract, the two unions announced today. The employees—AFTRA business representatives—had been working without a contract since Sept. 5. Under the terms of the three-year deal, the business reps will receive annual raises of 2.5 percent, 3 percent, and 3 percent. The contract also includes increases in driving and meal reimbursements.

The wage gains are greater than in contracts that the Teamsters recently negotiated with the Screen Actors Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. In those three-year deals, the Teamsters accepted annual pay increases of only 2 percent. Citing AFTRA’s recent growth in prime-time broadcast television—where the Teamsters claim that AFTRA covered 90 percent of new series in the last two seasons—Local 399 had rejected a previous offer from the performers’ union that included annual raises of 2 percent, 2.5 percent, and 2.5 percent.

The agreement does away with the threat of AFTRA facing picket lines while it and SAG are negotiating a new TV-theatrical deal with producers. Those talks began Sept. 27. The Teamsters had voted last week to authorize a strike and had threatened—as they had during negotiations last month with SAG—to picket.

The new contract will expire Sept. 4, 2013.