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SAG Strike Still Possible As Tentative Deal Falls Apart

22 Jun, 2005 By: Holly J. Wagner

An 11th-hour tentative deal between the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and video game companies reached as a strike vote was closing has fallen apart.

The move reopens the possibility of a strike.

SAG's national executive committee voted Tuesday to formally reject the Interactive Media contract jointly negotiated with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). AFTRA's national administrative committee approved the deal last week, and it will go into effect for their members July 1, 2005.

SAG's three-year Interactive Media contract expired May 13, and the national board approved the tentative new deal June 8.

The tentative 3-1/2-year agreement included a 36 percent increase in minimum pay over the term and higher benefit contributions. But the producers refused the unions' demands for residuals.

“The video game market has grown to be enormously profitable, and our members have played a tremendous role in generating those profits,” said SAG national executive director and CEO Greg Hessinger. “The bargaining committee and staff of the Screen Actors Guild worked extremely hard over the course of many months to negotiate fairer terms and conditions for the actors who do this work. While the tentative agreement they reached included several key gains, the Guild's National Executive Committee has made the final determination that this proposal was not enough. We will now explore our options.”

A renegade SAG member's Web site claims the strike vote that led to the June 8 tentative agreement fell short of authorization to strike. At least 75 percent of the membership would have had to vote for a strike, but A.L. Miller's site said the vote was 61 percent for and 39 percent against, but only 33 percent of the affected members returned ballots.

SAG did not release results of the vote.

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