SAG To Vote On Game Actors Contract

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The national board of Screen Actors Guild (SAG) today voted to send members who work in the video game industry a referendum on the proposed Interactive Media Agreement. The referendum will also be available to any paid-up SAG member in good standing who requests a ballot. The referendum will be mailed out on July 13 and due back by July 28. As a result of today’s board decision, game producers have extended their contract offer to July 31. The board elected not to include a formal recommendation either for or against the proposal.

The board’s action follows the June 21 vote of the Guild’s National Executive Committee, which rejected the tentative agreement after failing to garner the required 60 percent supermajority necessary for NEC approval of a collective bargaining agreement. Today’s vote of the full SAG national board required a simple majority. The Interactive Media Agreement had been jointly negotiated with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), which approved the contract earlier this month and for whom the contract will go into effect in the coming days.

Negotiations on new Interactive Media Agreements began between the unions and video game companies in February 2005, before breaking off on May 13, when strike authorization votes were called by both SAG and AFTRA.

Before the authorization votes were concluded, a tentative agreement between the producers and unions was reached on June 8, which was reluctantly endorsed by the SAG negotiating committee. This referendum will decide if that proposal is accepted or rejected.

The referendum materials will include a formal summary of the proposed agreement. In the coming week, the Guild will notify all paid-up members in good standing wishing to vote on the contract about how to request and receive ballots.

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