Talks between AFTRA and record labels have broken down.

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the labels have been negotiating since August and despite about 16 meetings, have been unable to come to an agreement.

No more negotiating sessions are scheduled.

Major issues standing between the two sides include health care and pension security and transparency of accounting.

The current contract, which covers about 14,500 people, expires December 31.

AFTRA and representatives from Sony, UMG, Warner, EMI, Disney and most of their subsidiary labels began formal negotiations August 15 in New York. Talks went for two weeks. After that, the sides met for another week in Los Angeles.

Because they couldn't reach an agreement, they met for a final day in New York on October 5 -- but still couldn't agree.

On October 2, AFTRA's national board of directors gave the union's negotiating committee permission to seek a strike authorization vote.

While AFTRA is not currently on strike in Sound Recordings, the AFTRA National Board has unanimously authorized the Negotiating Committee to take all actions necessary, up to and including ... a strike authorization vote, according to a statement AFTRA released Friday.

According to the union, the AFTRA Negotiating Committee stands ready, willing and able to meet and receive a fair proposal from the major labels in order to resolve a fair contract for the session singers and royalty artists whose talents provide the music that keeps these multibillion dollar corporations in business.

The contract was originally set to expire in 2010, but was extended for one year.

The Sound Recordings Code covers singers, royalty and non-royalty artists, as well as announcers, actors, comedians, narrators and sound effects artists who work on recordings in all new and traditional media and all music formats, in addition to audio books, comedy albums and cast albums.

According to the union, the code generates more than $140 million annually in AFTRA-covered earnings and benefits for both major artists and session singers around the country.