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AFTRA reaches deal with Teamsters

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists has averted a walkout -- by some of its employees.

Nearly a dozen business representatives who work for the actors union had been in a contract standoff with their employer over pay rates, which was becoming a potentially embarrassing distraction as AFTRA and its sister union the Screen Actors Guild entered their own contract negotiations with the major studios this week.

But on Wednesday night, Teamsters Local 399, which represents the business reps who service about 37,000 in the Los Angeles local, reached an agreement with AFTRA and accepted a new contract. The new agreement, retroactive to Sept. 5, gives them 2.5% increase in pay in the first year and 3% annual increases in the second and third years of the contract.

Teamsters had been seeking a 4% pay raise for the business reps, arguing that they had taken on more work because a growing number of new prime-time television shows that have swung to AFTRA in recent years.

Nonetheless, the pay hikes are slightly higher than 2% raises their counterparts at SAG recently received. Other improvements include a monthly $120 car allowance for employees who drive more than 100 miles a month, and a meal allowance.

 -- Richard Verrier 

 
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