After a protracted round of contract negotiations lasting 18 months and a little over 12 months after an initial vote for strike authority, voice and motion actors in the SAG-AFTRA union are now on strike, stopping them working with a number of games companies as of today. The striking actors and artists are fighting an ongoing battle for improvement to their contracts, which would see them earn residual payments on successful games.
Negotiations reached a head when a final offer was made by the various companies involved offered an immediate pay increase of 9%, an offer which SAG-AFTRA rejected with no counter offer being made. This was in addition to session based pay outs of up to $950 per game based on the number of sessions being worked on for a particular title.
The strike notice from SAG-AFTRA points out that the video games market is now a multi billion dollar industry, with top titles earning more than some of the highest grossing Hollywood blockbusters, yet their members lack any form of residual or back-end compensation.
The notice goes on to point out that performers are often engaged to perform roles that cause vocal strain or even damage to their voices and want measures in places to reduce the potential damage, such as demanding sessions being limited to two hour windows, with the same pay as given for a four-hour session. It also points out that often performers are contracted without firstly identifying the role and a refusal to provide basic information regarding the nature of the performance, often leading performers to be unable to make a choice in regards to acceptance of work or not, in addition there is a request for stunt coordinators be present for stunts and other dangerous mo-cap activity.
While the impacted companies have said they “look forward to working with the performers and SAG-AFTRA to continue to explore ways to further enhance the working environment” they also warn that strike action “will immediately and directly take money out of their members’ pockets”
The companies impacted by the strike are as follows:
Activision Publishing, 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.
SAG-AFTRA have gone on record to ensure that this strike will only impact certain video games under the Interactive Media Agreement and will not impact work in other areas such as TV and Radio commercials, TV and Radio Programs, Theatrical Films, Sound Recordings and Music Videos, Audio books, Stations Contracts and Broadcast News, and finally Corporate, Educational & non Broadcast Programs