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AFTRA: 'Bold and Beautiful' Talks 'Frank, Fair'

Officials for the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists met with disgruntled cast members of The Bold and the Beautiful in Los Angeles April 8–9 to try to address the concerns that made some of them want to decertify AFTRA as their bargaining representative and switch to the Screen Actors Guild.

Strikewatch_blog Although no performers were ready to swear a lifetime loyalty oath to AFTRA by the end of the talks, union representatives came away feeling as if they were heard, according to one of the six officials who attended. “We had two days of meetings, which were productive,” said the source, who requested anonymity. “But we’re not out of the woods.”

According to the insider, the meetings were attended by National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, National President Roberta Reardon, and four others.

The actors’ immediate concerns were international residuals and health care. According to the source, The Bold and the Beautiful has been shown throughout Europe but the actors have not seen any payments yet. That’s because license-fee revenue for each episode has to exceed $182,000 before residuals kick in.

Though some of the episodes are close to passing the benchmark, they haven’t yet, said the insider, who added that AFTRA has hired an independent auditor to verify the situation. In addition, union officials have conferred with other unions, whose members also have not received residuals, the source said.

“We understand how the actors feel,” said the insider. “You go to Europe and you’re a rock star in Europe because everybody sees The Bold and the Beautiful and you think you’re owed money and, in fact, the license fee doesn’t support that. That’s a real problem for all actors…. They don’t make as much money off their image as they would like to.”

As for health care, actors are concerned about rising premiums, and the source conceded SAG’s health plan is better for California residents. However, to decertify AFTRA over that issue could lead to a situation where shows were switching unions every few years, the source added.

According to AFTRA officials and news reports, the move to decertify Bold was spearheaded by Susan Flannery, though the source contended Flannery was goaded into it by SAG as part of a broader effort by the guild to take over AFTRA shows. Earlier this week, Reardon also expressed that sentiment, accusing SAG of waging an organized raiding campaign. SAG National President Alan Rosenberg denied the allegation.


At the meeting with AFTRA, the source said Flannery was “very polite.”

“She’s a nice woman,” the source continued. “…. She tries to be fair; we appreciate that. She's a very frank person.”

Through a representative, Flannery declined to comment, a posture she has assumed since the story broke in late March.

When actors were informed they would be without union representation for two years, the source said, “they were kind of silent.”

Overall, the source said, “The situation is improving. I don’t think it’s over. I’m still not sure that they all understand the seriousness of what they embarked on.”

--Andrew Salomon

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