SAG-AFTRA Union Members Could Go On Strike This Friday In Relation To Videogame Work

The SAG-AFTRA Union in America has announced that members may have to take strike action on Friday should, with the reason being that video game companies have not reached a fair deal during contract negotiations so far. The last round of negotiations will take place from today until Wednesday 19th October. The union represents 160,000 members across a range of industries including broadcasting, voiceover work, and stunt work. This strike is in regards to the Interactive Media Agreement, with the union releasing a statement on what work should be withheld.

All covered services must be withheld, including, but not limited to: voice acting; motion or performance capture work; background work; principal on camera work (including singing, dancing and performing stunts); authorizing the use of your voice or of a sound-a-like voice in a videogame; consenting to the reuse of prior work into a struck game; performing on a trailer for a struck game and performing on “downloadable content (DLC)” or other ancillary content connected to a struck game.

The companies that would be affected by strike action are:

– ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW –
  • Activision Publishing Inc.
  • Blindlight LLC
  • Corps of Discovery Films
  • Disney Character Voices Inc.
  • Electronic Arts Publishing Inc
  • Formosa Interactive LLC
  • Insomniac Games Inc.
  • Interactive Associates Inc.
  • Take 2 Interactive Software
  • VoiceWorks Productions Inc.
  • WB Games Inc.

Not all games in production under these companies will be hit, with the union stating that this will relate to projects that went into production after February 17th 2015. SAG-AFTRA has put forward a number of proposals it would like video game companies to adhere to so its union members are compensated accordingly and work in safe environments. These proposals include performance bonuses so game actors share in a game’s success. At the moment SAG-AFTRA is asking that bonuses are paid out should a game’s sales pass the two million mark.

The union also wants stressful voice work sessions, where actors may have to perform things like shrieks and screams, to be reduced from four hours to two hours without loss of pay in order to minimise stress on an actor’s vocal chords. In areas of motion capture there is a request for stunt coordinators to be on hand to make sure all work is carried out safely. Finally SAG-AFTRA wants union members to get full disclosure of the roles they’ll be playing, and the exact nature of what would be required by them.

The union is asking that non union members take part in the strike too, but the way it is worded does make it sound like that should non members cross picket lines then they may not get union membership in the future.

In a strike, we ask all performers to respect the strike, regardless of union membership status. Non-members who cross a picket line may not brought up on charges like a union member would, but they would jeopardize their ability to become a member in the future. More importantly, they would also be completely undermining the sacrifices that all of the union actors are making for their benefit. They stand to gain something so much more by supporting us.

There is a partial list of games that fall under the strike but some have already released, while the majority appear to be mobile titles.

Source: SAG-AFTRA

– PAGE CONTINUES BELOW –
Written by
From the heady days of the Mega Drive up until the modern day gaming has been my main hobby. I'll give almost any game a go.

4 Comments

  1. Very interesting, having been on the verge of industrial action at work this year and after seeing all the teacher and junior doctor trouble I’ve got huge sympathies for anyone squeezed into corner so that it comes to striking. Hopefully it’s all resolved soon, excessive profit hunting at the expense of fair sharing of profits and the brutal cutting of working benefits pisses me off big time. Not sure about the non members being threatened by the union though, especially when they’re gonna be vulnerable to sackings if they do lend support, that’s pretty shitty.

  2. Is this the typical union negotiating tactic? Make all possible demands, however stupid, and see what sticks?

    Some sensible demands (safety things) with some silly demands (can we get paid twice as much for working safely?). And a ridiculous demand for extra money if the game is successful. Presumably all the talented people working on a successful game (programmers, artists, musicians) get that bonus too? Or is it only people whose job is basically “reading things out loud”? They think they’re real actors (the ones who might sell a film?), which is kind of cute. ;)

    And in case anyone thinks I don’t like unions, I’m with Mr mcphatty on the subject of teachers and junior doctors. 100% behind their reasons for wanting to strike. But then their job isn’t “reading out loud”.

    Unions really are a good thing, while simultaneously being their own worst enemy at times.

    • That’s rather disrespectful towards Voice Actors? I mean, it’s not just reading aloud. There’s a ton of stuff involved and many act out the scenes(I’ve heard many do anyway) and voice actors tend to be the main bulk of the game. Well, most of the time. But i do agree that people behind the game should get better pay for what is probably a stressful job and better conditions. I mean, look at the stuff some fans throw at them. :(

  3. Considering that David Hayter got replaced without any warning(seriously, that was really shitty of Kojima to do so) and he was an iconic(Yes, Ubisoft, this is how to use the term.) voice for 2 decades and an important part of the MGS franchise, I seriously doubt that going on strike is going to achieve anything. Studios and publishers will always replace people if they want to and well, whilst I am on the side of the unions for wanting to get better pay because of how the industry is, it kinda isn’t going to work and could result in some publishers clampning down. “Oh? you don’t like this? Well, it would be a real shame if I had to replace you.”

    Plus, aren’t Voice Actors techincally self employed?

Comments are now closed for this post.