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SAG Toons In More Residuals For Cable VO Actors

SAG and industry producers have tentatively come to terms on a new basic cable animation contract, which increases residual payments by 20%, reports the trades.

Word came down on Monday the same day that negotiating resumed on a separate live-action basic cable series contract. SAG has already mentioned a strike if they dont get an acceptable raise in residuals.

Both contracts were last negotiated 16 years ago when cable TV was a relatively new.

"The performers who work under this contract have waited a long time for these well-deserved gains, particularly in the area of residuals," said SAG president Alan Rosenberg. "Thanks to the hard work of the negotiating committee and staff, and with the support of our membership, we were able to improve this contract, which affects mainly working day performers, for the first time in almost two decades."

This is the first negotiation completed under Rosenberg's administration, which ran on a promise to get tougher in collective bargaining. The animation deal shows that the divided union could reach a deal despite its more aggressive stance, which Rosenberg attributed to "standing together as a united group of actors."

The new contract was negotiated with major producers of animated basic cable programs, including Walt Disney Pictures & Television, Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios.

The contract covers any animated production created by the signatory companies for basic cable. The past practices relied on single-production contracts.

SAG will hold a caucus on April 10, 2006, in Hollywood to present members with the proposed terms before it is considered for ratification by the national board at a meeting on April 21-22. The union has agreed to a deadline of April 30 to have the agreement ratified or not.

If approved, the contract would be retroactive to Jan. 1 and run through June 30, 2008.

The deal would raise the rate for the first residual from 12% to 17% of a voice performers' minimum, which is $716 for a four-hour session. The rate will decrease with each rerun, ending with a 1.5% residual, up from 1%, for the 13th and all subsequent reruns.

"We achieved important gains that will truly benefit the many actors who do voice-over work to make a living," SAG chief negotiator Sallie Weaver said. "Basic cable animation is a burgeoning industry, and this deal comes at a critical time. I'm very proud of how the dedicated members of the negotiating committee worked with our incredible staff and achieve real, tangible gains for working actors."

Loren Lester, chair of the negotiating committee, said, "It's truly historic when you consider the guild hasn't achieved any negotiated gains on this contract during the past 16 years. We were successful because we possessed a strong negotiating team, comprised of an activist committee of working performers, a supportive elected guild leadership, and an expert professional staff, especially our chief negotiator, Sallie Weaver."

Both the live-action and animation basic cable contracts expired Feb. 28.

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