×

SAG-AFTRA Video Game Strike Ends After a Year

SAG-AFTRA and the video game industry have reached an agreement to end the nearly year-long strike by the union.

The two sides reached an agreement during the weekend. SAG-AFTRA held four raucous rallies during the strike.

“We want to thank our counterparts at SAG-AFTRA for their efforts to conclude this labor dispute and reach a deal that will bring SAG-AFTRA members back to work on upcoming videogame projects,” said chief negotiator Scott Witlin. “The videogame Companies and SAG-AFTRA both worked hard to reach this deal and end the strike.”

The strike began Oct. 21, 2016, against nine of the top American video game producers, developers, and publishers. The dispute was officially resolved in the early morning hours of Sept. 23. The new contract will run for three years from the date of ratification by SAG-AFTRA which should take place in the coming weeks.

The companies said the new contract provides a “substantial” pay increase for performers through both bumps in session fees and additional compensation tied to a performer’s contribution to the video game. In addition, the companies agreed to additional transparency in bookings and to continue to cooperate with SAG-AFTRA in the area of safety, including vocal stress.

The deal on the Interactive Media Agreement was bargained by Activision Productions, Inc.; Blindlight, LLC; Disney Character Voices, Inc.; Electronic Arts Productions, Inc.; Formosa Interactive, LLC; Insomniac Games, Inc.; Take 2 Productions, Inc.; VoiceWorks Productions, Inc., and, WB Games, Inc.

SAG-AFTRA’s last proposal provided for residuals, vocal-stress protections, coverage of stunt coordinators, and disclosure of what the work entails before the performer agrees to the job. During the strike, the companies repeatedly blasted the union leadership for not allowing members to vote on the final offer, providing an immediate 9% pay hike.

The union picketed Activision, Warner Bros., and Insomniac Games during the strike in late 2016. It also marched from its Los Angeles headquarters to the park next to the La Brea Tar Pits for a rally in February, but did not hold a rally after that.

SAG-AFTRA said the deal includes a new bonus structure that provides an additional payment to performers. The bonus payment, which is due no later than the release date of the game, is based on the number of sessions worked on each game, beginning with a $75 payment on the first session and totaling $2,100 after 10 sessions worked.

“This is an important advance in this critical industry space. We secured a number of gains including for the first time, a secondary payment structure which was one of the members’ key concerns,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “The courage of our members and their fortitude these many months has been admirable and I salute them. We are always stronger together.”

Keythe Farley, chair of the SAG-AFTRA Interactive Negotiating Committee, said the strike resulted in key victories for member performers in the video game community.

“The bonus payments we have now are significantly larger now than what we had 11 months ago. And the existence of additional payments beyond your session fee is in the video game world for good, both in our high-budget and independent promulgated agreements,” said Farley. “Those are the victories that this strike has brought us.”

Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez, who was the lead negotiator on the new contract, said the  transparency provisions will require the companies to disclose the code name of project, its genre, whether the game is based on previously published intellectual property and whether the performer is reprising a prior role.

“Members are also protected by the disclosure of whether they will be required to use unusual terminology, profanity or racial slurs, whether there will be content of a sexual or violent nature and whether stunts will be required,” he added.

 

 

 

 

 

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Still from "Andhadhun"

    Microsoft Streaming Deal Lifts Shares in India’s Eros

    Shares of leading Bollywood film distributor Eros International soared by 38% on Thursday following news of the company’s link up with Microsoft to develop a new generation of video streaming platform. The multinational company said that its Eros Now video operation would work with Microsoft Azure to develop its technology in three ways. They seek [...]

  • Comcast X1 DAZN

    Comcast Adds DAZN Sports-Streaming Service to Xfinity Flex, Sets Launch on X1

    DAZN, the digital sports service headed by ex-ESPN boss John Skipper, is now available to Comcast broadband customers on Xfinity Flex and will be available on Xfinity X1 this fall. It’s the first distribution deal for DAZN with a major U.S. provider since it debuted the combat-sports-oriented service in the States a year ago. In [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Raises Bar for Channel Verification, Stripping Some Creators of Verified Status

    YouTube is making it harder for channels to receive a verification badge indicating their authenticity — and the program’s new requirements mean that some channels won’t be eligible for verification. Like other internet platforms, YouTube indicates to viewers that specific channels are officially run by the creator, artist, celebrity or company they represent with an [...]

  • BuzzFeed - Katie Sitter

    BuzzFeed Taps Activision Blizzard's Katie Sitter as Head of HR (EXCLUSIVE)

    BuzzFeed hired Katie Sitter, most recently an HR exec at Activision Blizzard, as senior VP of people. Sitter, who starts at the company Sept. 30, will lead the BuzzFeed HR organization and oversee strategic initiatives related to organizational planning, talent acquisition, learning and development, performance management, compensation and benefits, labor relations, and diversity, equity, and [...]

  • Kano

    Kano Tipped to Launch ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Frozen’ Coding Kits

    Educational consumer electronics startup Kano is getting ready to release “Star Wars” and “Frozen” coding kits, according to regulatory filings. Recent FCC filings made by the company reveal plans to release a product called “The Force Coding Kit” as well as one called “The Disney Frozen Coding Kit.” Kano representatives didn’t respond to multiple requests [...]

  • Apple Arcade

    Apple Officially Launches Apple Arcade Game Subscription Service

    Apple officially cut the ribbon for its new game subscription service Thursday: Priced $4.99 per month, Apple Arcade offers unlimited access to over 100 exclusive games. Apple Arcade was released alongside iOS 13, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system. Some of the titles available through the subscription package include “Lego Brawls” from Lego [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content