AFTRA Announces New Head of News & Broadcast Department

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AFTRA Announces New Head of News & Broadcast Department

LOS ANGELES (July 28, 2010) – The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), a national union of more than 70,000 professional performers, recording artists and broadcast journalists, today announced that on July 30 Mary Cavallaro will lead the union’s News and Broadcast Department as Assistant National Executive Director for News and Broadcast. Debra Osofsky, the union’s current National Director for News and Broadcast, will step down on July 30.

“Mary is the right person at the right time to lead our news and broadcast members forward as their industries evolve into the digital age,” said AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth. “In addition to her tremendous negotiating and organizing expertise, Mary is highly experienced with current trends in individual contract negotiations, the dispute resolution and arbitration process under union broadcast contracts and with proceedings at the National Labor Relations Board.

“Debra has served AFTRA’s membership with incredible skill and dedication, and we will truly miss her. We are fortunate that a dynamic leader like Mary will pick up the torch to move us forward, and we are pleased she is returning to the AFTRA staff,” Hedgpeth added.

“I am very happy to be back working with AFTRA to represent broadcast professionals during these challenging times in the industry,” said Cavallaro. “I look forward to continuing the good work of AFTRA and to achieving new goals for our broadcast members as their jobs evolve into the future.”

Cavallaro previously worked with AFTRA, beginning in 1995, first as Assistant Executive Director of the AFTRA Philadelphia Local and, in 1998, she was promoted to National Representative/Staff Counsel. During her earlier tenure with AFTRA, Cavallaro negotiated and administered union agreements with television and radio stations in the Philadelphia, New Orleans, upstate New York and other markets around the country, and she administered freelance agreements in non-broadcast and interactive media. Cavallaro also provided analysis and comparison of employee health, pension, investment and core benefit packages, and in researching and evaluating mergers and acquisitions in the media industry and assessing their impact on labor and employment agreements.

Cavallaro is currently in private practice in the Philadelphia area, where she specializes in negotiating and advising media talent clients regarding personal service contracts, and advising media related businesses and creative professionals regarding copyright, licensing and other intellectual property matters, production development and option agreements and employment/independent contractor agreements. Prior to establishing her own practice, Cavallaro served as Counsel to the firm of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads in Philadelphia, and served as Chair of the Media Talent Representation Practice Group.

Cavallaro received her juris doctor from Villanova University School of Law, where she was a founding co-editor of the “Sports & Entertainment Law Journal.” She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Southern California where she received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a Minor in Law & Society. Cavallaro is admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar.

Cavallaro’s hiring follows a series of recently announced new organizing staff appointments, and reflects the union’s commitment to organizing new and more work opportunities for AFTRA members in all areas of the union’s expansive jurisdiction.

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America. In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, journalists, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audio books, non-broadcast industrials, interactive games, the Internet and other digital media. The 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists of AFTRA are working together to protect and improve their jobs, lives, and communities in the 21st century. From new art forms to new technology, AFTRA members embrace change in their work and craft to enhance American culture and society.