LOS ANGELES (April 27, 2005) – Members of Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Radio & Television Artists (AFTRA) who work union contracts in the interactive gaming industry held meetings April 25-26 in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco to discuss the status of ongoing negotiations with producers for successor interactive media agreements.
SAG and AFTRA have been in negotiations since February of this year with video game publishers for new three-year contracts. The previous three-year agreements, which were set to expire on December 31, 2004, have been extended twice, as negotiations between the unions and producers continue. The current extension agreements expire on May 13, with the parties set to resume bargaining on May 9.
At the three meetings, union negotiators briefed members on the status of the ongoing talks. The unions have been negotiating in good faith to secure fair and equitable contracts that include increased rates, higher pension and health contributions, and some form of residual structure. The unions hope to achieve these priorities and continue their partnership with producers in this burgeoning industry.
In the event that producers and publishers do not agree to fair and equitable contracts, a work stoppage may become necessary. Accordingly, the unions sought and secured a strike authorization from the members present. SAG members voted 98 to 2% and AFTRA members voted 95 to 5% in favor of providing an authorization to strike, if necessary. In AFTRA’s case, an additional vote among affected members will be taken to affirm the strike authorization.
Although a strike authorization sends an important signal about the importance of these issues to the unions, before a work stoppage can take place, the national boards of both unions, or their designees, must give final approval.
A news blackout remains in effect during the negotiations.