Christopher de Haan, AFTRA’s National Director of Communications, just issued this statement about the status of Sound Recordings negotiations with the major record labels:

“Despite more than a month and a half of good faith bargaining with the record labels, the AFTRA Sound Recordings Negotiating Committee has not been able to reach a fair agreement with the record labels that addresses key issues for recording artists, including health care and pension security and transparency of accounting. No further bargaining sessions are scheduled at this time. While AFTRA is not currently on strike in Sound Recordings, the AFTRA National Board has unanimously authorized the Negotiating Committee to take all actions necessary, up to and including proceeding to a strike authorization vote of the affected members, if necessary. The AFTRA Negotiating Committee stands ready, willing and able to meet and receive a fair proposal from the major labels in order to resolve a fair contract for the session singers and royalty artists whose talents provide the music that keeps these multibillion dollar corporations in business. The current AFTRA Sound Recordings Code is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2011.”

AFTRA was negotiating with representatives from Sony, UMG, Warner, EMI, Disney and most of their subsidiary labels for a successor agreement to the AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Sound Recordings. It’s the Union’s second-largest national contract. The talks began in New York on August 15, with an additional round of bargaining held in Los Angeles the week of September 12-16. An additional bargaining date had been set for October 5 in an effort to resolve outstanding issues. AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth serves as Chief Negotiator for the Union.

The Sound Recordings Code covers singers, royalty and non-royalty artists, as well as announcers, actors, comedians, narrators and sound effects artists who work on recordings in all new and traditional media and all music formats, in addition to audiobooks, comedy albums and cast albums. The Code generates more than $140 million annually in AFTRA-covered earnings and benefits for both major artists and session singers around the country.

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