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:
- 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.