SAG-AFTRA members and supporters, including Iqbal Theba, Phil LaMarr, Keythe Farley, SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris, Executive Vice President Rebecca Damon, SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer and Los Angeles Local President Jane Austin and National Executive Director David White sing with the crowd at the strike rally at the La Brea Tar Pits on Feb. 2.
A nearly 500-person crowd consisting of members of SAG-AFTRA and its sister unions, elected officials and fellow supporters convened at SAG-AFTRA Plaza for our union’s most recent video game strike rally on Feb. 2., before marching, dancing and chanting their way to the La Brea Tar Pits. Sister unions present included members of WGA West, DGA, Actors’ Equity, IATSE, UNITE HERE, SEIU, Teamsters Local 399 and AFM Local 47. Accompanying marchers as they made their way to the La Brea Tar Pits were a New Orleans-style brass band sent by AFM Local 47 that led the march down Wilshire Boulevard. A truck parked on Wilshire and a banner pulled by an airplane drew attention to the campaign’s social media hashtag, #PerformanceMatters.
SAG-AFTRA’s approximately 160,000 members have been on strike against an 11-member bargaining unit (see below) since Oct. 21, 2016. The strike came after 19 months of negotiations, during which the corporations refused to offer any form of secondary compensation or meet other key demands, including the demand for transparency in the hiring process.
This rally marked the two-year anniversary of the bargaining process on the Interactive Contract, which governs video game work. However, as we have kept up the public pressure on the struck video game corporations, we have been working behind the scenes to sign new companies and games to our promulgated video game agreements. This strategy has allowed us to hold employers unwilling to provide safe sets and fair wages to account, while bringing new companies and games into the SAG-AFTRA fold to expand the slate of work available to our members.
“This is a crucial time. The video game companies are getting ready to start production on a slate of new titles. They need and want our members’ talent to be in their games,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “I urge these video game corporations to accept the industry-standard agreements that they know are fair and right so we can get back to work — together.”
National Executive Director David White said, “Enough is enough. It’s time for the video game corporations to stop stalling and meet us halfway. Working together, we can achieve continued growth for their companies along with fair compensation and safe sets for our members. Their continued stalling is only going to slow down their game production and hurt their bottom lines.”
Guest speakers at the rally included Jason George, Art Pulaski from the California Labor Federation, Rusty Hicks from the L.A. County Fed, Councilman David Ryu and performer Murs. At the rally, SAG-AFTRA announced that 12 games have signed onto the promulgated agreements, and since the rally, we have more than doubled that number. In total, the union has signed more than two dozen games and 20 companies to its promulgated video game agreements under the same terms that the AAA companies have refused — and new deals are being signed every week. Despite the strike, there is no shortage of work. Game developers are encouraged to give us a call to sign onto one of our new contracts.
This success is a testament to the talent and professionalism of SAG-AFTRA video game performers and of your union’s willingness to work closely with employers who want the best talent working on their games. Click here to learn everything you need to know regarding this cause and watch footage from rallies.
SAG-AFTRA is striking the following video game employers:
• Activision Publishing Inc.
• Blindlight LLC
• Corps of Discovery Films
• WB Games Inc.
• Disney Character Voices Inc.
• Electronic Arts Productions Inc.
• Formosa Interactive LLC
• VoiceWorks Productions Inc.
• Insomniac Games Inc.
• Interactive Associates Inc.
• Take 2 Interactive Software
SAG-AFTRA National and Los Angeles Local Board member Jenny O’Hara with SAG-AFTRA Executive Vice President Rebecca Damon and California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer and Chief Officer Art Pulaski at the Feb. 2 strike rally.
Attendees, speakers and elected officials raise signs in unity at the sight of a plane carrying a banner displaying the campaign’s social media tag, #PerformanceMatters, which was provided by a video game fan.
Speakers, special guests, SAG-AFTRA staff, elected officials and union members at the the rally on Feb. 2.