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Actors Achieve Agreement With Video Game Makers

9 Jun, 2005 By: Holly J. Wagner

The guilds representing actors, including voice talent, have reached a three-and-a-half-year agreement with video game manufacturers that guarantees a 36-percent minimum pay hike over time, with 25 percent and benefit contributions up front.

SAG's National Executive Committee and AFTRA's National Administrative Committee, both of which will meet in the coming weeks, must now approve the deals.

On the eve of a strike authorization vote, and after much deliberation, both unions reluctantly withdrew their demand for a residual, or profit-sharing, model. In return, producers will put more money for minimum pay into both contracts.

Both sides agreed that the final vote tallies for the strike authorization, which closed June 7, will not be announced.

“The negotiating committee wrestled with a great challenge,” said SAG President Melissa Gilbert. “Our members clearly support the inclusion of residuals in our interactive contracts. However, with great reluctance, our negotiating committee concluded that it is in the interests of the members who work these contracts to make this deal.“We will spend the next three-and-a-half years devoting resources to further organize this industry, and return to the bargaining table with renewed strength and vigor to establish a fair participation in the enormous profits generated by video games.”

If approved, the contracts, covering voiceover talent, singers, dancers and performance capture performers, among others, will become effective July 1 and remain in force until Dec. 31, 2008. Previous agreements expired Dec. 31 but were extended several times as negotiations continued.

Highlights of the deal include:
  • An immediate 25-percent increase in minimum wages from $556 to $695 for a four-hour session for up to three voices, with increases in subsequent years, bringing the daily rate up to $759.
  • Double-time pay after six hours (previously 10 hours) for three-voice performers.
  • A 7.5-percent increase in contributions to the unions' benefits plans, bringing the rate up to 14.3 percent.
  • Payment to actors for reuse of performances in promotional films longer than 12 minutes.
  • A specified rest period for each hour spent recording.
  • Payment window shortened from 30 to 12 business days.

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