Actors who perform voice-overs for animated programs on basic cable scored a big win Tuesday, when the Screen Actors Guild negotiated a 20 percent increase in residual payments, part of a tentative agreement between the union and animated basic cable producers.

The proposed agreement covers producers including Walt Disney Pictures & Television, Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios, as well as the hit series "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "The Boondocks." The increase is the first improvement to the contract's residuals formula in 16 years. Negotiations began in January.

The payment increases for voice-over performers could be sizable, given that popular animated cable series are re-aired as many as 100 times over the course of a year.

The residuals formula for the first re-run of an animated basic cable program would rise from 12 percent to 17 percent of the voice performer's minimum, which is currently $716 for a four-hour session. The minimum pay percentage for the 13th showing and each subsequent run also rose, to 1.5 percent.

A caucus will be held April 10 in Hollywood for members to review the tentative agreement, which needs to be approved by April 30 under the terms of the deal. The agreement will be considered for ratification at SAG's national board meeting on April 21 and 22, and if approved, would grant the pay raises retroactive to Jan. 1.

"Thanks to the hard work of the negotiating committee and staff, and with the support of our membership, we were able to improve this contract, which affects mainly working day performers, for the first time in almost two decades. The Guild achieved this important victory by standing together as a united group of actors," said SAG National President Alan Rosenberg in a statement.

The guild represents about 120,000 actors in film, television, industrials, commercials and music videos.

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