AFTRA and music labels fail to make headway on a new contract

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After more than a month of negotiations, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists remains in a standoff with the major record labels over a new contract for recording artists.

“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,’' the union said in a statement. ‘No further bargaining sessions are scheduled at this time.’

Negotiations among AFTRA and representatives from Sony, Universal Music Group, Warner, EMI, Disney and most of their subsidiary labels began Aug. 15, but the sides remain sharply at odds over terms of a new three-year contract to replace one that expires Dec. 31.

Although AFTRA is not on strike, the union’s national board has unanimously authorized its negotiating committee to take all actions necessary, including seeking a strike authorization vote from members.


‘The AFTRA Negotiating Committee stands ready, willing and able to meet and receive a fair proposal from the major labels in order to resolve a fair contract for the session singers and royalty artists whose talents provide the music that keeps these multibillion dollar corporations in business,’ the union said.

The contract covers about 14,000 performers, including famous singers like Eminem, background singers, comedians who work on sound recordings and actors who perform for audio books.

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-- Richard Verrier