SAG tries end game

National board sends deal to members

SAG’s leaders bought themselves a month’s time Wednesday to retain jurisdiction over the vidgame biz.

The guild’s national board voted to send a proposed agreement — rejected by SAG’s national executive committee last week — to members who work the vidgame industry. Guild didn’t disclose the margin of the vote.

Board also decided to make ballots available to any SAG member who asks for one.

Ballots, which the board decided will carry no recommendation, go out July 13 and are due back July 28. The vidgame industry, for its part, agreed to extend its offer until July 31.

Deal, which was jointly negotiated by reps for SAG and AFTRA, had been endorsed unanimously June 8 by the negotiating committee even though it failed to win residuals on bestselling games — the primary goal.

But the deal then failed to receive the needed 60% approval from the national exec committee, which voted it down last week. The no votes, which came from the Membership First faction, stemmed from anger by negotiators who felt they’d been misled by SAG chief exec Greg Hessinger’s assertions over whether the guild could discipline members if they worked for non-signatory gaming companies.

Move by the national board — where only a simple majority is required — precludes SAG from losing jurisdiction over vidgames to AFTRA, which has OK’d the same deal with the industry.

Wednesday’s move wasn’t a surprise since members of SAG prexy Melissa Gilbert’s Restore Respect coalition hold a slim majority on the national board and have tended to advocate a less confrontational course than Membership First.

If SAG members don’t ratify the deal, AFTRA will be the only actors’ union involved in vidgames even though both unions currently share jurisdiction in this sector.

AFTRA had no comment Wednesday about the national board’s vote.

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