Voice work pact previously rejected by SAG

Members of the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists have approved a new deal for videogame voice work — two weeks after SAG members rejected the same pact.

AFTRA, which made the announcement Thursday, said the deal received backing from 66% of those casting ballots. The pact was sent out to AFTRA’s 2,200 members who work under the contract.

AFTRA covers the lion’s share of unionized voice work for vidgames. SAG, which has asked the companies to return to the bargaining table, had no immediate response to Thursday’s announcement.

The two performers’ unions have generally made little headway with vidgame companies; an estimated 75% of the voice work performed goes to non-union performers.

Opposition has emerged to the new deal over the “atmospheric” provisions allowing employers to use actors to perform up to 20 voices of up to 300 words at the daily base rate — provisions viewed by some as signifying a major reduction from the current pact.

SAG’s rejection may doom an effort by negotiators to synch up the expiration dates and terms of the pacts for SAG and AFTRA. Negotiators for AFTRA and the Screen Actors Guild reached separate deals with similar terms with vidgame employers on Oct. 2. AFTRA’s deal is a 15-month extension of the current pact that expires on Dec. 31. New deal will expire on March 30, 2011.

The new AFTRA agreement includes a 2.5% increase in minimum session fees to $802 for a four-hour session starting on April 1.

“AFTRA members who work on videogames do so using a highly specialized set of skills and require unique protections from their union agreement,” said AFTRA president Roberta Reardon.

The pact includes an increase in the AFTRA health and retirement contribution rate by 0.2%, bringing the total producer contribution rate to 15%. It also establishes a new cap on annual health and retirement contributions to an individual performer to $125,000, and an automatic $100 payment when a producer fails to provide advance notice of vocally stressful work.

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