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SAG Gaming Contract Goes Back to the Actors

On June 29, 2005, the SAG board voted to send its gaming contract to the 1,900 members who regularly work in game as well as any other active member who requests a ballot for a final vote, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. To accommodate the new vote, gaming publishers, including Electronic Arts and Activision, have extended the contract offer to July 31. Ballots will go out July 13 and are due back July 28.

Sister acting guild AFTRA has already agreed to the 3 1/2 year contract.

The deal with the gaming industry has sparked great infighting in SAG over the lack of residuals in the agreement.

After the negotiators for the contract agreed with the terms, the national executive committee turned around an rejected the contract, spurring Wednesdays special SAG board meeting.

The NECs rejection of the contract seemed to be a part of a political battle between supporters and opponents of SAG president Melissa Gilbert, with the latter group voting against the proposal and the pro-Gilbert camp vote for it.

Members of Gilbert's Restore Respect sect are claiming that no votes are just a political move to gain ground in anticipation for the fall election. The election will decide the top officer positions and control of the union.

Secretary-treasurer James Cromwell has expressed fears that the infighting will extend into the current TV animation talks and upcoming basic cable deal, leading to two unneeded strikes.

The interim contract does not include residuals, but does increase benefits and greater work protection. If the deal is approved, the actors would earn $759 for a daily, four-hour voice-over session by the end of the contract as well as double-time after six hours, which use to be after 10 hours. In addition, the deal would give a 7.5% increase in contributions to the unions' benefit plan to 14.3% and also make 15%-25% gains in rates for remote delivery and integration.

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Rick DeMott
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