By Stephanie Ciccarelli
December 3, 2007
This week, Lin Parkin will be our guest blogger on VOX Daily.
If you've ever wondered about the national unions including AFTRA, SAG, ACTRA, and Equity, this week will be a goldmine of information for you.
Today, we'll be starting with AFTRA, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
What is AFTRA?
AFTRA is a national labor union that represents over 70,000 performers working in public and cable television programming, radio broadcasting, sound recording, audio books, voice overs, voice messaging, interactive games, internet technologies, digital media and other new media.
There are many subcategories that these performers fall under including; actors, journalists, hosts, announcers, comedians, disc jockeys, voice over artists, non-broadcast, dancers, singers, recording artists, royalty artists, and many more.
A Brief History About AFTRA
In 1937 the Radio Actors Guild in Los Angeles banded together with Radio Equity in New York to create the American Federation of Radio Artists (AFRA). Not long after, the Associated Actors and Artists of America (the Four A's) granted a charter to work with the new union. By the end of 1937 membership numbers jumped to over 2000, covering almost all performers in all major broadcasting centers. By 1939, just two years after its inception, AFRA covered 70% of all collective live radio broadcasting agreements.
In 1950 the Four A's independently created the Television Authority, negotiating the very first television contract. In 1951 AFRA won battle with major recoding labels to implement the long sought after Phonograph Recoding Code for singers. On September 17, 1952 The Television Authority and AFRA merged together and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists was born.
To learn more about how AFTRA has helped change the face of the performance industry visit their website at: AFTRA History
For seventy years the union has been working hard to create fair compensation, treatment, and contracts for its members. AFTRA is dedicated to reflecting the American scene and provides equal employment opportunities for its members in all locals. Their objectives are to increase employment opportunities for women, minorities, seniors, people with disabilities, and to uphold the Non-Discrimination/Affirmation Action plan for all AFTRA members.
Working with AFTRA production signatories guarantees members fair compensation, safe working conditions, health benefits and retirement plans for its members. Members enjoy other perks as well such as; professional development through coaching, workshops and classes, support and counseling, educational scholarships for members and their dependents, as well as discounts on hospitalization and prescriptions, travel, computers, education.
Members of AFTRA are committed under contract to work only on AFTRA approved jobs. To join AFTRA, you must be or intend to be a professional performer in any one of the union's jurisdictions, which are divided up into Western, Central, and Eastern locals.
AFTRA Production Companies
Some production studios who are signatories to AFTRA contracts include; AMPTP, Castle Rock Entertainment, Comedy Central, DreamWorks SKG, Fox Broadcasting, HBO, MTV, Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Miramax, New Line Cinema, Nickelodeon, Paramount Studios, Showtime Network, Sony Pictures Entertainment, twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios, Viacom, Walt Disney, and Warner brothers. While these companies can hire non-union performers, once they've signed a union contract then union members must be considered for all parts in their production first before handing any roles to non-union performers.
Famous AFTRA Voice Over Artists
Some famous voice over artists who are members of AFTRA include; Don La Fontaine, Anne Gartlan, Richard Ferrone, Lori Allen, Tom Kane and many more.
AFTRA Membership Fees and Dues
The initial cost of membership is $1300, plus the minimum current cycle of union dues of $63.90. Dues are collected twice per year, on May 1 st and November 1 st . After the first year of membership union dues are calculated on an individual basis, depending upon how much the individual has earned in the previous year on AFTRA approved jobs. If the member has made less than $2000 for the year he/she pays only the minimum amount of $63.90. Annual dues also vary slightly from region to region, so that members in smaller markets do not have to pay the same amount as members in the major markets such as Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.
The locals represent over thirty-three cities across the United States. Each local host's a variety of their own functions and is responsible for electing its own board of directors and officers. Together with the national board of directors and officers they implement and carry out the directives of the union.
National offices are located in New York and Los Angeles. Actress Roberta Reardon is currently President of AFTRA, in New York. Board members on both the local and national level are volunteers, working toward the greater good of fellow performers. For a complete list of jurisdictions and representatives please follow this link: http://www.aftra.org/locals/llocals.htm. To view more details on the American Federation of Television and radio Artists please visit their website at: AFTRA.org
*source www.aftra.org *
About The Author
Lin Parkin lives in London, Ontario, Canada where she is an Account Manager and writer for Voices.com, the #1 online market place for voice overs. Voices.com is home to over 15,000 voice actors from around the world representing over 100 languages and services over 60,000 clients who need voice overs recorded for their projects.