If it is a test, let's not fail it. We agree many of their demands are crazy. Some may not even be legally enforceable. Rather than back down, or allow these “proposals” to proceed, let's send a strong signal to the industry that we are prepared to negotiate over proposals that are based on precedent and best-practices and that all other proposals should be taken off the table.
Over and over, interactive performers have identified the lack of secondary compensation as a top concern. There is ample precedent for secondary compensation across the media landscape. You get secondary compensation when you perform in feature films, animation, episodic TV, commercials and the like. But that wasn't always the case. Performers who came before you had the courage to fight for the residual payments you enjoy today, and, because they stood together, they won them.
The top games make money. This industry has grown, boomed and morphed into something bigger and more lucrative than many other segments of the entertainment industry, and it continues to do so. The truth is, secondary compensation is not uncommon in the video game industry. In 2014, Activision's COO took home a bonus of $3,970,862. EA paid their executive chairman a bonus of $1.5 million. We applaud their success, and we believe our talent and contributions are worth a bonus payment, too.
Sure. Most of the smaller and less popular games won’t be affected by secondary compensation. We structured our proposal to trigger at 2 million units, the point we would regard a game as successful.
All video games, including work such as DLC and trailers under the Interactive Contract, that went into production after February 17, 2015 for the following employers: 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. All other employers are encouraged to continue production. Members can continue to work on other projects, such as Animation, TV/Film, Corporate/Education, Audiobooks, Commercials, etc.
You cannot work under any titles that went into production after February 17, 2015 for the following employers: Activision Publishing Inc.; Blindlight, LLC; Corps of Discovery Films; Disney Character Voices, Inc.; Electronic Arts Productions, Inc.; Formosa Interactive, Inc.; Insomniac Games, Inc.; Interactive Associates, Inc.; Take 2 Interactive Software; VoiceWorks Productions, Inc.; and WB Games, Inc. If you suspect that a member is working on a struck production, please contact the hotline at (323) 549-6815. Please know, the community has decided to strike because the short-term risk of loss-of-work is outweighed by the long-term gain of a better contract in a growing industry.
Going nonunion would mean that the producer would lose access to all professional union talent for all their union games. That is a big risk that they are going to have to weigh when deciding to go non-union.
Per the SAG-AFTRA Constitution, 75% of voters must vote yes to authorize a strike. In October 2015, SAG-AFTRA members overwhelming voted for a strike authorization with 96.55 percent voting yes.
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 be 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.
We think not. But, saying no will be much easier if the interactive community is on board. It comes down to a question of power. The employers can dig in their heels indefinitely. A strong strike authorization vote is the best way to shift the power dynamic.
It's not. However, the employers want SAG-AFTRA to strip your agent of their union franchise agreement if you and your reps choose to pass on an audition. There is no precedent for this anywhere in the entertainment industry. You and your representative should decide whether or not you want to consider these roles, just like you do with any role in TV, commercials and film.
Yes, the contract expired on Dec. 31, 2014. It remains in place as an “open contract” until a new one is negotiated or imposed. During the time that the contract is open, the union does not have the ability to file grievances and arbitrations, and the members have the ability to strike.
The strike is contingent on the Oct 17-19 negotiations. If negotiations do not go well, we will notify members of the strike via email.
If you are not on the email list, please click here to sign up. If the employers decide they have had enough of the strike, at any point, the committee can decide to start or stop the strike.
We will set up picket lines, however, we will not release any information about where to meet for any picket until the night before. Please click here to receive urgent updates.
Working on a struck game undermines everything that your fellow actors have fought for the gain in this contract for the past two years. If you suspect that someone is working a struck game, or if you are unsure that your game is struck, please call the hotline at (323) 549-6815.
Feb. 3-4, 2015: First negotiation date. Members deliver to employers a statement of support signed by more than 300 of the union’s top performers.
June 23, 2015: Second meeting with employers, attended by more than 50 members who work the vido game contract, ends after just a few hours.
September 23, 2015: SAG-AFTRA members tweet their support for voiceover actors using the hashtag #PerformanceMatters, which trends all afternoon and into the evening.
September 15-October 6, 2015: SAG-AFTRA holds strike authorization vote. 96.55 percent of members voted yes for a strike authorization.
May 4, 2016: Prominent SAG-AFTRA members appear in a YouTube video stating they support the interactive negotiations. The video gets thousands of views.
May 4-5, 2016: Negotiations continued without progress.
May 25, 2016: SAG-AFTRA sends letter sent to California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) asking for an investigation into unsafe vocal recording sessions held by video game employers.
July 25-26, 2016: Negotiations continue with little to no progress.
Oct 17-19, 2016: The final round of negotiations are scheduled before a possible strike.
If the employers’ proposals for fining actors and agents or the ability to use their staff to do voiceover work in video games gets into the Interactive Media Agreement, then we are setting precedent for all the other industry union contracts. Remember, Warner Bros. and Disney are at the table. If they can get away with these proposals in the Interactive Media Agreement, what's to stop them from making the same proposals at other negotiations?
Jill King, SAG-AFTRA Organizer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Or call the hotline at (323) 549-6815.
Please refer all press inquiries to SAG-AFTRA Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Pamela Greenwalt at email@example.com, (323) 549-6872.