Ad Industry, Musicians Reach Agreement

The Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies reached agreement with the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) on a new three-year contract that governs the recording of music for TV and radio commercials.

The musicians will receive a 6% pay raise, which is "a very good deal for both sides given the current economy," according to Ira Shepard, a Washington D.C. lawyer who is the chief negotiator on talent union relations for the ANA and AAAA.

Shepard says the musicians did a little better the last time they signed a contract, but agreed to a 6% raise this time because of the slow economy, which is hurting the advertising industry.

The new contract runs for three years and is retroactive to Oct. 18. The old contract expired on Oct. 17.

The musicians earn over $100 million in a three-year period, Shepard says. Tens of thousands of unionized musicians are covered by the agreement.

The deal was signed in New York after Shepard negotiated with the president and elected officials of the AFM. It was "a mature and cooperative collective bargaining relationship," he says.

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He had a lot more trouble last year representing the advertising industry in negotiations with the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, which led to a six month strike, from May to October, 2000, "the longest in the history of the entertainment industry," he says.

The agreement between the advertising industry and the AFM has been reached but must be ratified by an AFM vote, which will take place within a month. Shepard believes it will pass with no problem.

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