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SAG Members OK Contract With Video Game Makers

Times Staff Writer

Actors who voice video games voted overwhelmingly Thursday to approve a new contract with game makers.

More than 81% of the nearly 1,500 Screen Actors Guild members who voted approved the pact, which calls for a 36% rise in minimum pay over 3 1/2 years.

Affected are about 2,000 performers who voice characters in games. The new contract will go into effect today and run through 2008.

Pay levels will rise over the life of the contract from $556 per four-hour session to $759. SAG negotiators also had sought residual payments for top-selling games. But the companies, including Electronic Arts Inc. and Activision Inc., refused to budge.

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The contract had touched off a feud within SAG, a union representing 120,000 actors that is beset by infighting.

Membership First, a group opposed to SAG President Melissa Gilbert, initially succeeded in scuttling the contract through a union committee vote in June even though SAG’s negotiating team had approved the deal as did SAG’s sister union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Later, SAG’s national board reversed that rejection by putting the contract to a members vote.

In a statement Thursday, Gilbert, who is not running for another term, said the overwhelming results showed her opponents were “out of touch with the membership.”

But Alan Rosenberg, a Gilbert critic who is running to succeed her, said the opponents only wanted to force the contract to be put to a full vote.

“The membership has spoken, so let’s move forward,” Rosenberg said.

Howard Fabrick, a negotiator for the game makers, said the companies were pleased the vote was finally over and that the contract was approved.


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