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Home » Officer Columns » Changing Channels: from Pamphlet B to SRLA, Network Television

Changing Channels: from Pamphlet B to SRLA, Network Television

  -  AFM International President

I am pleased to announce that the Federation has concluded negotiations with the Broadway League and Disney Theatrical Productions for a successor Pamphlet B Agreement. The new agreement establishes wages and conditions of employment for musicians working on the road in touring theatrical musical productions. The Federation’s Pamphlet B Agreement is administered by the Federation’s Touring/Theatre/Booking Division (TTBD), headed by Assistant to the President Michael Manley.

Despite a rough start in our initial round of bargaining, the Federation, Disney, and the League were eventually able to find common ground during subsequent negotiations, ultimately reaching a progressive agreement that will become effective retroactively after ratification to March 11, 2016 and extend through March 15, 2020.

Our negotiating team achieved substantial economic improvements, some of them in areas that had been neglected during negotiations prior to my taking office as your president. And the good news is that we achieved what we achieved without conceding any significant benefits or protections, won after hard-fought battles over many years of prior negotiations. In other words, we didn’t “buy” our contract improvements. We won them free and clear, without concessions.

In sum, we were able to achieve increases in weekly salaries, increases in overtime pay, and substantial increases in rehearsal pay for both Full Pamphlet B and Short Engagement Tour (SET) services. For the first time, pension contributions will now be applicable on rehearsal pay. We were also successful in achieving increases in vacation pay and doubling percentages in SET. We locked in the higher per diem rates we had achieved through our last contract’s parity with Actors Equity and continued that parity in the new contract.

Thanks are in order to the members of the Federation’s Pamphlet B negotiating team, which included AFM International Vice President Bruce Fife; AFM International officers John Acosta and Tino Gagliardi; local officers Local 9-535 (Boston, MA) President Pat Hollenbeck, Local 2-197 (St. Louis, MO) Secretary Nancy Schick, Local 5 (Detroit, MI) President George Troia, Local 6 (San Francisco, CA) President Dave Schoenbrun, and Local 10-208 (Chicago, IL) President Gary Matts; and player representatives Joshua Priest of Locals 802 (New York City) and 149 (Toronto, ON) and Mike Epperhart of Local 802; Theater Musicians Association (TMA) representatives Tom Mendel of Local 10-208 and TMA President Tony D’Amico of Local 9-535; AFM TTBD Director and Assistant to the President Michael Manley; AFM TTBD Contract Administrator George Fiddler; and Federation Counsel Jeff Freund.

Now that we have concluded another successful series of industry negotiations, my energy and attention will be devoted toward finishing up our protracted discussions toward an acceptable Sound Recording Labor Agreement with the major record labels, and renegotiating a progressive, successor TV Videotape Agreement—the contract covering the late-night TV house bands for shows like Jimmy Kimmel and Steve Colbert; guest artists on those shows; specials like the Oscars, the Grammy’s, and Country Music Awards; weekly variety shows like Dancing with the Stars and The Voice; and halftime shows for sports spectaculars such as NFL football and the Super Bowl.

As you may know, the Federation made solid gains when renewing our TV Videotape Agreement with the networks in 2012. But since that time, changes in new media production, digital distribution, and consumption models have changed. The advent of streamed on-demand programs produced and distributed through Netflix, Amazon, and premium pay network-affiliated sources, such as CBS All Access, have challenged every union with workers in media production.

As with the major labels in our negotiations toward a sound recording agreement that provides new streaming income from digital distribution, I’ve made the conclusion of a successor TV Videotape Agreement with improved new media provisions a top Federation priority. Please stay tuned for news on the outcome of this exciting series of negotiations with the sound recording and television industries.

And on behalf of the Federation’s International Executive Board and our skilled and dedicated staff located in our New York City Headquarters, in our West Coast Office in Hollywood, in our Legislative Office in Washington, DC, in our Canadian Office in Toronto, and our tireless and knowledgeable field staff, please accept our warmest wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season and a productive new year!

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