SAG-AFTRA Plans Voice Actor Strike Picket at Warner Bros.

SAG-AFTRA has set a picket for Warner Bros. in Burbank for Thursday, the second demonstration since the performers union went on strike against video game companies on Oct. 21.

More than 100 supporters rallied on Oct. 24 at Electronic Arts in Playa del Rey, Calif., to back the strike. SAG-AFTRA launched the strike against EA, Warner Bros. and nine other video game makers after negotiations cratered 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.

More than 96% of those voting among the 5,000 “affected” members — those who have worked on the contract — approved a strike authorization last year. Thursday’s picketing will run for two hours, starting at 10:30 a.m.

Under the strike order, SAG-AFTRA members are barred from working for Electronic Arts, Warner Bros.  and nine other video game companies — Activision Publishing, Blindlight, Corps of Discovery Films, Disney Character Voices, Formosa Interactive, Insomniac Games, Interactive Associates, Take-Two Interactive Software and  VoiceWorks Prods.

SAG-AFTRA demanded last week that the video game companies take down their “deceptive” http://www.sagaftravideogames.com web site. The new website insists that SAG-AFTRA leaders spurned an offer that was “virtually identical” to the union’s proposal and contains a 9% wage hike.

Scott Witlin, who represents the video game companies, told Variety that the strike authorization vote was taken at a time when the offer was far different than the current offer.

“Obviously, we’d rather that they conduct a democratic vote of their membership about our proposal,” he added.

SAG-AFTRA leaders have pointed out that the national board unanimously endorsed going on strike at its Oct. 16 meeting following 19 months of negotiations. They have also asserted that it’s inappropriate for the companies to be dictating how the leaders communicate with the members.

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