AFTRA extends video-game agreement

Pay, benefits contributions to increase for a year

AFTRA has reached an agreement with video-game employers to extend its interactive-media contract for one year.

Terms of the extension for the union’s collective-bargaining agreement covering performers in video games include a bump in compensation and contributions to AFTRA’s health and retirement plans.

The extension goes from Dec. 31 to Dec. 31, 2009. Under its terms, performers will receive a 3% increase in initial compensation for all session fees and a half-percent increase in health and retirement contributions, both starting Jan. 1.

"We are pleased to have reached an extension agreement with the major video-game employers that keeps AFTRA members working and secures solid increases in wages and benefits on par with the five other major national contracts AFTRA negotiated earlier this year," said Denny Delk, chairman of AFTRA's interactive media steering committee. "It's a testament to the vision and bargaining power of AFTRA members that, in a time of global economic crisis, AFTRA members consistently find common-sense solutions to difficult problems."

AFTRA's chief negotiator for the contract, Mathis Dunn Jr., said the extension allows the union to continue its work with sister union SAG on wages and working-conditions meetings for their commercials contracts, currently under way.

Los Angeles labor attorney Howard Fabrick, who reps the video-game publishers with his Akin Gump colleague Scott Witlin, said the extension "also ensures that all games that go into production through the end of 2009 will be able to be completed without disruption.

"The stability this agreement provides is good for working performers and for the video-game industry," he added.

AFTRA negotiated its first contract covering performers in interactive media and video games 20 years ago. The agreement is not part of its joint bargaining agreement with SAG, known as Phase One.

AFTRA has extended several smaller agreements as well, including contracts covering electronic media, infomercials, video-news releases and local-station promos.
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