AFTRA Connects to the Cloud with New Videogame Contract

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AFTRA Connects to the Cloud with New Videogame Contract

Union achieves new, industry-exclusive streaming fee for ‘cloud gaming’

LOS ANGELES (June 9, 2011) – The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO – a national union of more than 70,000 performers, recording artists and broadcast professionals – today announced that it has reached a tentative agreement with videogame industry representatives on terms for a new 3 1/2 year AFTRA Interactive Media Agreement, covering AFTRA members who work in videogames. The current contract is set to expire on June 30, 2011.

If ratified, the new pact will include a groundbreaking provision: the industry’s first-ever streaming payment paid to performers in the form of a new cloud gaming fee.

AFTRA Chief Negotiator and Assistant National Executive Director Mathis L. Dunn, Jr. praised the new agreement saying: “We now have a clear and enforceable provision where performers will see real dollars immediately. Cloud gaming is a growing part of the digital future and AFTRA is in on the ground floor. This new provision guarantees that AFTRA members will continue to be a vital and relevant part of the gaming community. I applaud our Negotiating Committee for their hard-work and vision.”

The new cloud gaming fee is an additional one-time payment of 15% of the session fee that will be paid to every Principal Performer engaged on a videogame made available on streaming services. Other highlights of the successor agreement include:

A 3 1/2 year agreement, effective July 1, 2011 and expiring December 31, 2014.

A 3% increase on all minimum compensation over the life of the contract with 1% effective upon notice of ratification, bringing the new minimum fee for a 4-hour session to $809, and an additional 2% increase on all minimum compensation, effective on May 1, 2013 which will bring the 4-hour session fee to $825.

The union and the employers also agreed to commence early bargaining on the next contract as soon as possible after August 15, 2014 but no later than September 31, 2014.

Contributions to the AFTRA Health and Retirement Fund will be increased by 0.5% bringing the total contribution rate to 15.5%.

The AFTRA Interactive Media Negotiating Committee, comprised of AFTRA members who work the contract, unanimously approved the tentative agreement.

Details of the new agreement will be submitted to the Union’s National Administrative Committee for its review and approval on June 22. If approved, full details will be provided in the ratification materials that will be sent to affected members who will vote on the new terms.

AFTRA negotiated the first union agreement covering performers who work in videogames in the early 1990s. The AFTRA Interactive Media Agreement covers performers who work in interactive media, including personal computer programs, arcade games and interactive computer and video animation. Experienced AFTRA performers working under the contract include voiceover performers, actors, dancers, singers, recording artists, sportscasters and other professionals whose talents improve the efficiency and quality of the gaming experience.

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America. In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, broadcasters, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audio books, non-broadcast industrials, interactive games, the Internet and other digital media. The 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists of AFTRA are working together to protect and improve their jobs, lives, and communities in the 21st century. From new art forms to new technology, AFTRA members embrace change in their work and craft to enhance American culture and society.