SAG-AFTRA, the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, proclaimed a strike against select videogame companies starting on October 21st.
According to SAG-AFTRA, after years of concerted effort video game employers refused to reach a "fair deal" during negotiations with the federation. The key issues are contingent compensation, vocal stress, transparency and stunt coordinators; the companies affected are:
- Activision Publishing, Inc.
- Blindlight, LLC Corps of Discovery Films
- Disney Character Voices, Inc.
- Electronic Arts Productions, Inc.
- Formosa Interactive, LLC
- Insomniac Games, Inc.
- Interactive Associates, Inc.
- Take 2 Interactive Software
- VoiceWorks Productions, Inc.
- WB Games, Inc.
Yesterday, more than 250 picketers gathered outside Electronic Arts' offices in Playavista, California. According to Deadline, SAG-AFTRA's president Gabrielle Carteris said:
We are willing to stay out as long as it takes – not only the performers, but the union itself.
As it turns out, the two parties had actually reached an agreement on most outstanding issues with the exception of secondary compensation, which remains a point of contention particularly when it comes to the most successful games. The union offered two options:
In other words, an employer would have the option to buy out an actor by paying a bonus upfront or, if they prefer, they would have the option to pay a bonus after the game releases, if the game happens to sell more than 2 million units. The employers have refused to consider this option, excluding games from union talent if they are unable to afford the upfront bonus structure.
Ray Rodriguez, SAG-AFTRA's Chief Contracts Officer, added:
It’s important to us to see progress on the issue of secondary compensation. In the spirit of compromise, we made it an option, but they’re taking advantage of that to make it look like we are having a dispute over terminology, when it fact our dispute is about the biggest dispute these parties have had in the 20-plus years that this contract has existed.
We'll keep you updated on the outcome of this strike.