AFTRA pacts with vidgame industry

Tentative agreement stretches through 2014

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists has reached a tentative agreement on with the vidgame industry covering work through the end of 2014.

AFTRA announced the pact Thursday and said that if it’s ratified, it will include the industry’s first-ever streaming payment paid to performers in the form of a new cloud gaming fee — an additional one-time payment of 15% of the session fee paid to every principal performer on a videogame made available on streaming services.

“We now have a clear and enforceable provision where performers will see real dollars immediately,” said AFTRA Chief Negotiator and Assistant National Executive Director Mathis L. Dunn, Jr. “Cloud gaming is a growing part of the digital future and AFTRA is in on the ground floor. This new provision guarantees that AFTRA members will continue to be a vital and relevant part of the gaming community.”

The new pact will be effective July 1 and includes a 1% hike on minimums effective upon ratification, bringing the fee for a 4-hour session to $809, and an additional 2% increase on on May 1, 2013.

AFTRA also also agreed to commence bargaining on the next contract as soon as possible after August 15, 2014 but no later than Sep. 30, 2014. Additionally, contributions to the AFTRA Health and Retirement Fund will be increased from 15% bringing to 15.5%.

AFTRA’s negotiating committee unanimously approved the tentative agreement. Details of the new agreement will be submitted to AFTRA’s National Administrative Committee for its review and approval on June 22, triggering a ratification vote by affected members.

AFTRA noted that it negotiated the first union agreement covering performers who work in videogames in the early 1990s. The curent pact covers performers who work in interactive media, including personal computer programs, arcade games and interactive computer and video animation.

The Screen Actors Guild also covers videogame voice work but SAG’s deal expired in 2009 after guild negotiators rejected the same tentative deal that AFTRA approved. AFTRA covers the lion’s share of unionized voice work for vidgames but most of the voice work performed is non-union.

The current AFTRA vidgame contract expires June 30.

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