Video game voice actors called off a strike against 11 video game publishers, ending an 11-month-long labor dispute over royalties. The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) voted to end the strike, which has been in effect since October 21.
Early Saturday morning, the build’s negotiators reach an agreement to include a new bonus structure that provides additional payments to performers. The bonus payment, which is due no later than the release date of a game, will be based on the number of sessions actors worked for each project. It starts with a $75 payment on the first session and totaling $2,100 after 10.
“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, in a statement. “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 negotiators, said the strike delivered benefits 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,” Farley said. “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. Those are the victories that this strike has brought us.”
The coalition of game companies included Activision Publishing, Blindlight, Corps of Discovery Films, Disney Character Voices, Electronic Arts, Formosa Interactive, Insomniac Games, Interactive Associates, Take-Two Interactive, VoiceWorks Productions, and WB Games. In a statement, companies said thenew contract will run for three years from the date of ratification, which should happen in the coming weeks.
“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 company negotiator Scott Witlin in a statement. “The video game companies and SAG-AFTRA both worked hard to reach this deal and end the strike.”
Ray Rodriguez, who was the lead negotiator on the new contract for the guild, said that the deal includes significant improvements in the area of transparency.
“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, in a statement. “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.”
The deal also contains an employer commitment to continue working with SAG-AFTRA on the issue of vocal stress during the term of the agreement.
Moreover, the agreement does not include several proposals sought by management, including a provision that would have fined performers for being late or distracted at session.
The contract will next be reviewed by the SAG-AFTRA National Board at its October meeting. The guild represents 160,000 actors, announcers, and other professionals.