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SAG, AFTRA Negotiations Break Off As Strike Looms

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) have announced that talks with video game producers for new Interactive ...
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) have announced that talks with video game producers for new Interactive Media Agreements have broken off, and that the unions are now consulting their members for possible strike action regarding voice-over and actor use in video games. According to SAG, the final proposal presented by the unspecified conglomeration of companies failed to resolve the issue of profit-sharing, which the unions are arguing should be included in any prospective deal. The unions now say that no further extensions or talks are planned at this time, and have received strike authorization from their members. SAG and AFTRA will now hold caucuses with members in several key cities to determine whether a work stoppage is necessary. A statement released jointly by SAG and AFTRA specified that the failed negotiations included a rejection of a union proposal to share in profits on games that sell more than 400,000 units. The unions claim that, in 2004, this agreement would have impacted less than 30 games. SAG National President Melissa Gilbert commented: "Game revenues exceed domestic box office receipts. Producers rejected even a modest proposal of a residual structure that would cost them less than one percent of the revenue generated on only the highest grossing games. There is only one way to describe their position: completely unreasonable and lacking in any appreciation of the contributions made by actors to the enormous profits enjoyed by this industry." The current dispute arose when the terms of an existing Electronic Arts-negotiated contract ended on December 31st, 2004. No comment regarding the deadlock has been forthcoming from the video game producer side of the negotiations.

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