The pact with such major video game producers as Electronic Arts and Activision takes effect Friday and runs through Dec. 31, 2008. The pact was jointly negotiated with the smaller American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, which approved and adopted the contract in June.
The contract was also approved in June in a vote held among the roughly 1,900 SAG members who regularly work in the video game arena. But it was rejected a week later by a slim majority of SAG's national executive committee, despite the membership vote and the recommendation of the guild's negotiating committee that it be approved.
At the insistence of SAG's newly appointed national executive director Greg Hessinger, the proposed video game contract was put to another vote, this time open to all paid-up members of the guild. Ballots were automatically sent to 1,932 members with earnings from video game work under the guild's previous three-year agreement with major producers, which expired in May. An additional 1,441 ballots were requested by members, SAG said. About 43% of the ballots mailed out were returned, it added.
SAG held a strike referendum on video game concerns in May but failed to get enough support from members for a strike over residuals.
Although it does not include residuals, the proposed Interactive Media Agreement boosts wages for voice-over and other performers by 36% over the terms of the 3-1/2-year contract, beginning with an immediate 25% hike. The actors also received increases in benefits and greater work protection.
As a result, actors will earn $759 for a daily, four-hour voice-over session by the end of the contract. Also, double-time will be paid after six hours; previously, it kicked in after 10 hours.
Other gains include a 7.5% increase in contributions to the unions' benefit plan to 14.3%. The unions also made 15%-25% gains in rates for remote delivery and integration.