SAG-AFTRA Reaches Tentative Agreement Ending Video Game Strike

It took nearly a year but SAG-AFTRA is officially ending their strike against 11 video game companies, after reaching an agreement early Saturday morning.  On October 21, 2016, we reported that the union behind over 160,000 actors of the vocal variety was set to go on strike after certain companies within the gaming industry refused to go into detail of the project, pay the actors a cut of the game’s earnings, and provide safe work environments, among other things.

Saturday, SAG-AFTRA would earn a victory on some of their demands, enough to end the 11 month strike.  The terms of the tentative agreement include 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

“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 Keythe Farley, chair of the SAG-AFTRA Interactive Negotiating Committee. “Those are the victories that this strike has brought us.”

In addition to an increase in payment, there were improvements in project transparency, according to Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez.

“The new transparency provisions will enhance the bargaining power of our members’ representatives by requiring 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,” said Rodriguez. “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.” 

Despite these victories, the deal isn’t completely done.  SAG-AFTRA only ended the strike because the got just a few of the things they requested but there is still plenty of work to be done on the issue of vocal stress and the work environment.

The next contract will be reviewed by SAG-AFTRA”S National Board at its October meeting.  Regardless, it’s progress on an under-valued profession.