SAG-AFTRA Union Reaches Tentative Agreement With Video Game Companies to End Strike

posted on by Karen Ressler
Agreement includes increase in bonus pay, transparency

The SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) union announced on Monday that, as of Saturday, it has reached a tentative agreement to end its strike against 11 video game companies.

The tentative agreement includes a bonus payments due to performers no later than the release date of the game. The payment is based on the number of recording sessions held for the game, from US$75 paid for the first session to US$2,100 for 10 sessions.

The agreement also includes advancements in transparency, which SAG-AFTRA Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez said "will enhance the bargaining power of our members' representatives by requiring the companies to disclose the code name of project, its genre, whether the game is based on previously published intellectual property and whether the performer is reprising a prior role." Members will also be allowed disclosure on whether or not the roles will require unusual terminology, profanity or racist slurs, violent or sexual content, or stunts.

The agreement also contains employer commitment to continue to work with SAG-AFTRA on vocal stress issues. SAG-AFTRA noted some of management's proposals the agreement does not include, such as a provision that would fine actors for being late or distracted, and a provision that would require agents to submit actors for low-paying background voice recording sessions.

The union declared its strike on October 21, 2016 after 19 months of unsuccessful negotiations over the renewal of the Interactive Media Agreement labor contract, which expired at the end of 2014. SAG-AFTRA demanded that voice actors receive bonuses when game sales reach 2 million units, and that companies disclose the title and nature of the project and role that a voice actor will be working in.

The 11 companies affected by the strike include 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.; and ​WB Games, Inc.

The members of the union voted in October 2015 to grant the union's board the authority to call a strike as part of the negotiations. 96.5% of the members voted in favor of the measure.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter (Jonathan Handel)

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