Actors unions spar over cable TV

May 10, 2007 at 5:32 PM
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LOS ANGELES, May 10 (UPI) -- A feud has erupted between leaders of two actors unions over what's best for members when it comes to shows on U.S. cable television.

Nearly two dozen Screen Actors Guild members who gained control of the board two years ago are running for the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists national board and as delegates to its national convention, Daily Variety reported Thursday.

They are trying to reverse AFTRA's deals with 30 cable shows that allow free re-runs classified as "exhibition days."

The SAG contingent says the arrangements hurt members. AFTRA contends they are necessary to keep the cable networks from going non-union.

"The leadership of one union is undercutting the better rates and working conditions of another union, using excuses and 'digital loopholes' to secure contracts which pay you less for your work," SAG MembershipFirst said.

AFTRA board member Matt Kimbrough said his union is obligated to try to negotiate contracts up to SAG scale when up for renewal but that AFTRA is responding to business realities the same way the other unions have.

"Where is it written that AFTRA's the only union that can't offer a low-budget contract?" he asked.

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