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SAG-AFTRA Sets Third Video Game Strike Picket at Insomniac Games

SAG-AFTRA has set its third picket in a month-long strike against video game companies for Thursday at Insomniac Games in Burbank.

The union has asserted that more than 700 members and supporters have attended the first two pickets, which were held Oct. 24 at Electronic Arts and on Nov. 3 at Warner Bros, where national exec director David White spoke on a bullhorn.

“That solidarity has sent a powerful message to the video game corporations: SAG-AFTRA is tough to fight. But this struggle isn’t over,” the union said in a message to members Tuesday. “We need to keep the momentum going until the video game corporations return to the bargaining table.”

SAG-AFTRA called a strike against 11 video game producers on Oct. 21: Insomniac, Warner Bros. and EA along with Activision Publishing; Blindlight; Corps of Discovery Films; Disney Character Voices, Inc.; Formosa Interactive, LLC; Insomniac Games; Interactive Associates; Take 2 Interactive Software; and VoiceWorks Productions.

“Our greatest strength is our unity and we look forward to you joining us on the picket line,” the message said.

Insomniac is the developer of the “Ratchet and Clank” games.

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, told Variety earlier this month that SAG is quibbling over the language of the deal and blasted the leadership for not allowing members to vote on the final offer, providing an immediate 9% pay hike.

“This is what union’s do when they are on strike,” Witlin said Tuesday. “It is not surprising that they would picket, but Thursday will be the end of the 4th week of the strike and Thanksgiving is fast approaching.  You would think that the talented performers SAG-AFTRA represents would be better served by having their Union leaders allow them to vote on the offer on the table that would provide for an immediate increase of 9% and additional compensation that brings the increase to up to 23% or more.”

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