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AFTRA Ratifies Contract with Movie Studios, Producers

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SAG Members at a 'Solidarity Rally' on June 9, 2008 (more photos here) | Photo by Tom Andrews/LAist

The votes came in and were counted: members of AFTRA--the nation’s second largest performers’ union--overwhelmingly voted to ratify a contract with the AMPTP, who represents movie studios and producers, by a 62.4% margin.

“Today’s vote reflects the ability of AFTRA members to recognize a solid contract when they see it," AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon said in a statement. "Despite an unprecedented disinformation campaign aimed at interfering with our ratification process, a majority of members ultimately focused on what mattered—the obvious merits of a labor agreement that contains substantial gains for every category of performer in both traditional and new media.

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"Clearly, this was not a typical ratification process," Reardon wrote as she went on to lightly describe what the Screen Actors Guild--the nation's largest performers' union--did when trying to sway members who were card holders of both unions to vote no on the contract ratification.

"Clearly many Screen Actors Guild members responded to our education and outreach campaign and voted against the inadequate AFTRA agreement," SAG National President Alan Rosenberg said in a statement that was released within minutes of AFTRA's announcement. "We knew AFTRA would appeal to its many AFTRA-only members, who are news people, sportscasters and DJs, to pass the tentative agreement covering acting jobs. In its materials, AFTRA focused that appeal on the importance of actor members' increased contributions to help fund its broadcast members' pension and health benefits."

What's next? A de facto strike, a real strike, delayed production or whatever it may be, the next step is Thursday when SAG will "present its response" to AMPTP's "last best final" contract offer.