Org endorses tentative deal with gamers

Leaders of the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists have endorsed a tentative deal with videogame employers and will send it out for ratification to members who work the contract.

AFTRA’s national board OK’d the deal Saturday with “an overwhelming and strong” recommendation for a yes vote on the new terms.

Negotiators for AFTRA and the Screen Actors Guild reached separate deals with similar terms with vidgame employers on Oct. 2. SAG’s national board approved sending out its tentative agreement to four member caucuses.

AFTRA’s deal is a 15-month extension of the current pact that expires on Dec. 31. SAG and AFTRA have said that the deals — which had been negotiated separately during the past year — achieved parity between the AFTRA and SAG contracts. If ratified, both deals would expire on March 30, 2011.

The unions said the contracts contain a 3% wage hike for SAG to match AFTRA’s current deal and another 2.5% increase on April 1 for both unions.

Other key points: a 0.5% increase in the pension and health contribution rate for SAG members and an additional 0.2% next year for both unions, bringing the total rate to 15%; the establishment of a $100 liquidated damage per job for failure to give notice of vocally stressful work and agreement to develop a set of guidelines for conducting vocally stressful work; and a cap of $125,000 on contributions to the AFTRA Health and Retirement and SAG Pension and Health funds for performers paid more than $125,000 by a single producer in a single year for work done on the same game franchise.

Some opposition to the deal has emerged, focused on the provisions allowing employers to use actors to perform up to 20 voices of up to 300 words at the daily base rate — viewed by some as a reduction from the current pacts.

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