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AFTRA board scales up its fight against music labels

March 24, 2012 |  6:41 pm

DancersThe fight between performers who work on music videos for artists such as Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake and music labels escalated Saturday.

The national board of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists voted to give their representatives authority to issue a do-not-work-order against music labels or producers if the parties are unable to reach an agreement in contract negotiations.

For more than a year, AFTRA has been trying to secure a union contract deal with music companies that would provide minimum pay and benefits to dancers and others who perform in music videos. The union argues that the need for such an industrywide contract has increased as the music video industry has grown, thanks to the popularity of performers such as Madonna and Beyonce and online video services such as Vevo. But the talks, which were last held in January, have so far been unsuccessful, leading to the current standoff.

Earlier this year, dozens of members of the Los Angeles dance community held a rally and a flash mob performance, set to the tune of Aretha Franklin's hit "Respect," outside the offices of Sony Music Entertainment in support of efforts by music video performers to secure a union contract.

The vote comes just days before members of AFTRA are set to vote on a merger agreement with the Screen Actors Guild.


Actors unions to huddle for nine days of merger talks

AFTRA, music labels fail to make contract headway

Performers' union negotiates new TV contract

-- Richard Verrier

Photo: Music video performers do a flash mob dance during a Jan. 6 rally in Beverly Hills. The rally was organized by The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times