Negotiators for the American Federation of Musicians and the advertising industry reached agreement on a new three-year Jingle Agreement on Oct. 18. A ratification vote was under way as this issue went to press.
The agreement will provide an immediate increase amounting to $8 for original sessions, in the form of a rise from $100 to $106 in the basic scale for a minimum one-hour session call, along with a $2 hike in the initial use payment, from $28 to $30. One very significant advance is that this agreement recognizes the internet as a new medium for advertising, in addition to radio and television. All other aspects of the previous contract, which expired on Oct. 16, remain in effect.
The Jingle agreement is the first of the Federation’s national electronic media agreements to be negotiated in each three-year bargaining cycle, and in a sense it sets the tone for the negotiations to come. (Bargaining for a new Phono Agreement was under way as this issue went to press; the current agreement will expire on Jan. 31. The Theatrical Motion Picture and Television Film agreements will expire in mid-February, and the Videotape Agreement on May 31.)
That makes the solid improvements achieved in the jingle talks particularly important, said Jay Schaffner, Assistant Supervisor of the Recording Department. He pointed out that the context in which negotiations took place this year was not favorable: a sharp downturn in the overall economy, and with both the television and advertising industries drastically affected by the events of Sept. 11. In addition, these talks took place in the aftermath of last year’s nine-month strike against the same employers by SAG and AFTRA – a battle which saw the industry going overseas and developing other means of producing commercial announcements.
“In these circumstances, I think the Jingle Agreement represents a substantial achievement,” Schaffner told Allegro. “The increases take effect immediately, so musicians will have the money prior to the second and third years, and that is especially significant in today’s economic climate.” He noted that the major television networks were demanding significant concessions and givebacks from AFTRA, as the first round of bargaining for the television code opened on Nov. 6.
The provisions related to the internet provide the same $106 session scale as for spots made for television or radio. An initial use payment equal to a dub payment will cover the first six-month period of use, and a second dub payment will be made if the spot runs during a second six months. After that, it will be paid for a 52-week dub cycle.
This section of the agreement is an “experimental provision,” given that the internet as an advertising medium is still in an early stage of development, and was adopted with the understanding that it will be assessed and may be modified in the next round of collective bargaining. The agreement provides that, “upon the request of either party, the parties will hold a Joint Industry-Federation Committee meeting during the term of this Agreement to discuss Internet-related issues.”
This is the only national agreement the AFM negotiates with an entire industry. Speaking for the advertising industry are the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), a committee of the National Association of Manufacturers.
The Federation’s negotiating team, led by President Tom Lee, included Secretary-Treasurer Florence Nelson, Vice-President Harold Bradley, Vice-President from Canada David Jandrisch, RMA International Vice-President Steve Gibson, General Counsel George Cohen and attorneys Anne Mayerson and Jeff Freund. Representatives of AFM locals in Los Angeles, Chicago, Nashville and New York also participated.
Representing Local 802 were President Bill Moriarity, Recording Vice-President Erwin Price, Assistant Supervisor of the Recording Department Jay Schaffner and Roger Blanc, NY RMA Vice-President.