SAG-AFTRA Video Game Voice Actors Authorize Strike

SAG-AFTRA video game voice actors have authorized the union’s national board to call a strike with 96.5% of those voting backing a work stoppage.

SAG-AFTRA plans to ask companies to return to the bargaining table. Previous talks in February and June failed to produce an agreement on a successor deal.

Reps for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have refused to comment.

“It is important to note that the referendum result does not mean that members are on strike, rather, it gives the National Board the authority to declare a strike,” the union said. “A 75% ‘yes’ vote was required to give the National Board that authority. With this result in hand, the Negotiating Committee will seek to return to the bargaining table and continue to press for a fair resolution on behalf of performers working in video games.”

The contract covers work performed for Activision, Electronic Arts, Disney, Warner Bros. and other employers of video game voice actors.

The strike authorization has been supported by several notable voice actors including Elias Toufexis (“Deus Ex’s” Adam Jensen), D.C. Douglas (“Resident Evil’s” Wesker) and Jennifer Hale (“Mass Effect’s” Femshep). The movement also has Twitter hashtags: #PerformanceMatters and #iAmOnBoard2015.

One of the key proposals seeks bonuses for voice actors on games that sell over 2 million units with subsequent payments when sales reach 4 million, 6 million and 8 million.

“There is ample precedent for secondary payments across the media landscape,” SAG-AFTRA said last month. “You get secondary payments 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 union contended that such bonuses are not uncommon in the video game industry, noting that Activision’s chief operating officer received a bonus last year of $3,970,862 and Electronic Arts paid their executive chairman a bonus of $1.5 million.

“The top games make money,” SAG-AFTRA said. “This industry has grown, boomed and morphed into something bigger and lucrative than any other segment of the entertainment industry, and it continues to do so.”

SAG-AFTRA is also seeking language covering what it called “vocally stressful” recordings, stunt coordinators on performance capture and transparency during auditions.

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