Canadian Perfomers Union ACTRA Backs SAG-AFTRA Video Game Strike

Dave McNary

The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists has backed SAG-AFTRA’s month-long strike against video game companies.

“All of ACTRA’s 23,000 members from across Canada stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers at SAG-AFTRA as they take job action until they can negotiate a reasonable deal for their Interactive Media Agreement,” said ACTRA President Ferne Downey in a statement issued Tuesday.

“As a demonstration of this solidarity, we at ACTRA will refuse any struck work until a settlement is reached,” she added. “All performers deserve fair pay for the use of our work and safe working conditions so we can go to work with peace of mind knowing that our performance matters.”

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris thanked ACTRA members for their strong support.

“The video game corporations operate on a global scale so the support of our brothers and sisters in allied unions is vital in our continued strike,” Carteris said. “I want to thank ACTRA President Ferne Downey and the ACTRA leadership for their strong support. The stalwart solidarity of our allied unions from around the world is part of what makes SAG-AFTRA so difficult to fight.”

The performers union noted that its three pickets at Electronic Arts, Warner Bros., and Insomniac Games have been joined by members of the American Federation of Musicians, the Writers Guild of America West, the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, and Animation Guild Local 839.

SAG-AFTRA announced last week that it had received the support of the Actors’ Equity Association, which also urged its members not to accept struck work.

The struck companies are Insomniac Games, Warner Bros., EA, Activision Publishing, Blindlight, Corps of Discovery Films, Disney Character Voices, Formosa Interactive, Interactive Associates, Take 2 Interactive Software, and VoiceWorks Productions.

Negotiations cratered last month over the key issues of secondary compensation (residuals) and transparency for voice actors — meaning that the union wants companies to stop being able to hire without identifying the game. Scott Witlin, who represents the video game companies, has repeatedly blasted the union leadership for not allowing members to vote on the final offer, which would provide an immediate 9% pay hike.

SAG-AFTRA also held a “virtual picket” Tuesday on social media with the hashtag #PerformanceMatters. “Our united action will help voice-over and performance capture actors receive the rights they deserve,” the union said.

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