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Leaders of the Screen Actors Guild have approved the first update in its animation cable contract, covering residuals by voice performers on such shows as “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “The Boondocks.”

SAG’s national board on Friday unanimously approved the deal, which covers work through June 2008.

SAG has characterized the animation pact as representing a 20% hike in residuals, based on the typical pattern for animated basic cable episodes of an initial run followed by an average of 25 repeats.

Terms of the animated deal increase residual rates from the current 12% to 17% of the minimum (currently $716 for a four-hour session), going down to 1.5% of the minimum for the 13th showing and each subsequent run — which previously had beenpaid at 1%.

“This is a significant and well-deserved victory for the many actors who work under this contract, specifically day performers,” SAG president Alan Rosenberg said. “This demonstrates that producers and performers can work together to achieve results that benefit both sides and keep our industry moving forward.”

SAG also said the pact provides that all animated production for basic cable done by guild signatories will now be covered by this contract, as opposed to the previous industry practice of relying on single-production contracts.

The animation pact is the first approved by SAG since Rosenberg’s Membership First slate took over last fall after campaigning on the pledge of more aggressive bargaining.

Still unresolved is SAG’s basic cable pact, with SAG members approving a strike authorization last month in those negotiations. Nick Counter, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, has blasted SAG for refusing to accept the offer of a deal that’s similar to the animation agreement, but SAG has insisted the offer wasn’t sufficient, given the increases in basic cable revenues.