July 8, 2005

Actors Union Reaches TV Animation Deal

LOS ANGELES -- The Screen Actors Guild and industry negotiators said Thursday they tentatively agreed to a new, three-year contract covering television animation.

Terms include a 3% increase in minimum pay, retroactive to July 1, as well as a 1% increase in contributions to the union's health and pension plans beginning Jan. 1.

The deal, reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, now goes to SAG's national board for approval at its plenary meeting July 30.

"Now that we have successfully negotiated this important agreement, as well as the larger TV/Theatrical contract, we look forward to beginning talks with the industry on new basic cable agreements," SAG national executive director Greg Hessinger said. "Our focus in those talks will be on the residual structures for live-action and animation programing on basic cable, where the terms covering such work have lagged behind the explosive growth of those platforms for too long."

The TV animation deal marks the second of three, back-to-back negotiations for the union, whose talks for a video game contract were fraught with political infighting, and which will soon begin talks for a cable pact.

The video contract tension stemmed from the union's desire to establish a system of residual payments for voice-over and other performers, a goal that was abandoned only reluctantly after Electronic Arts, Activision and other companies made it clear that they rather would endure a long strike than allow actors to become profit participants.

The fate of the contract, which calls for a 36% wage increase, is now in the members' hands. Ballots will go out Wednesday, with the referendum results due about July 28.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter