The American Federation of Musicians and the ANA-AAAA Joint Policy Committee of the advertising industry have concluded negotiations for a successor agreement for the AFM Television and Radio Commercial Announcements Agreement.

The first change is the name; the contract will now be more simply called the Commercial Announcements Agreement. Since 2001 our Agreement has covered the internet; it is no longer limited to TV and radio.

Basic session wages rise from $115 to $120 as of April 9, 2010. The rate for initial use rises from the current $32 to $34. While session rates will not be retroactive, cycle payments will be raised retroactively.

The new Agreement wil be in effect for three years, and is timed to expire after the next round of bargaining between the advertisers and SAG/AFTRA. They are in the middle of a joint study of a new method of payment, and we are well advised to bargain after they have worked out their approach to payment for uses of their performances.

We have added a new set of shorter, 8 week cycles for Internet, New Media and Non-Broadcast use that align our Agreement more closely to that of SAG and AFTRA, The current option for employers for these media is to purchase a one year use; however the new choice being added is to purchase one fourth of a year, but pay more than one third of the yearly rate for reuse. This is, again, aligned with our sister guild agreements.

Slight increases to the Pension payments were implemented of necessity in response to the prospective Pension Fund Rehabilitation Plan. Pension contributions will rise to 12.48% effective June 1, 2010 and 13.08% effective April 1, 2011.

Finally, a commitment was made by both sides to convene a Joint Cooperative Committee meeting on April 5, 2011, in order to discuss the precipitous decline in employment for musicians under this Agreement. There was frank and illuminating conversation by both sides across the table about this troubling issue.

The outcome of the negotiations should be helpful in aligning us more closely with our larger sister gulds, and we feel that the result will be a better contract.

There were, however, serious problems with the process, and your RMA – and Local Officer – representatives, were deeply troubled by a new development. The AFM invited music production house owners and contractors into our labor caucus, allowed proposals to be made, and discussed, with their participation.

While it is no reflection on the inpiduals who participated in New York this week, it is wrong to have one’s employers or contractors in that very industry submit proposals under the protection of the AFM, and then expect rank and file to be able to engage in a critical discussion of the proposals freely and without intimidation. The chilling effect of this should be apparent to all, and it is our hope that this will not be repeated.

We would like to thank all those who participated in these negotiations on the AFM side. RMA was represented by rank-and-file rep Marc Sazer, with Jingles Committee member Lanny Paykin. Other RMA representatives who participated included Roger Blanc, Juliet Haffner and Andy Schwartz.

The AFM team was led by General Counsel Jeff Freund, with AFM Officers Tom Lee, Harold Bradley, Bill Skolnik, Sam Folio and Joe Parente. We were very ably and helpfully assisted by AFM staff Dick Gabriel, Pat Variale and Chuck Skorupski. Jay Schaffner appeared as a consultant to the AFM.

Representatives of affected Locals included Tino Gagliardi and John O’Connor from Local 802 in New York, Vince Trombetta from Local 47 in Los Angeles, Dave Pomeroy of Local 257 in Nashville and Dean Rolando from Local 10-208 in Chicago. The New York contingent was joined by staff members Mary Donovan, Jennifer Coolbaugh and David Sheldon.

Other participants from New York included David Finck, Tony Finno, David Weiss, Jan Horowitz, Jason Menkes, Sallie Lehman and Keith Haluska.

I have no doubt forgotten, misspelled, or otherwise mangled this list, but I offer my sincere thanks to all who participated in these negotiations.

Many Thanks,

Marc Sazer

RMA Rank and File Representative