SAG-AFTRA has launched a strike against the very Video Game Companies that are the biggest advocates and largest clients of SAG-AFTRA talent in an industry that overwhelmingly uses non-union performers.

This is a strike that did not have to happen

SAG-AFTRA never communicated to its membership what was on the table when, on October 19, it declined to counter the Companies’ last proposal and pushed away from the negotiations.

Our offer of a 9% wage increase accelerates the entire payment into the first year – an improvement over the three-year, 3% per year increase that the Union was seeking. It also includes for the first time Additional Compensation for Principal Performers (who work on more than one session on a game).

This structure for Additional Compensation is so close to what SAG-AFTRA is demanding monetarily that we believe most performers would conclude the differences are not worth striking over.

Our Offer of Significant Economic Benefits expires December 1, 2016

Two of the Companies’ proposals – the accelerated 9% wage increase and the Additional Compensation structure- are proposed as bonuses for timely ratification.

That means that if SAG-AFTRA fails to ratify the Companies’ Comprehensive Revised and Enhanced Final Package Proposal (of the evening of October 18, 2016) by December 1, 2016, these significant economic benefits will no longer be part of the package. This is a time-sensitive offer and we urge members to consider it now.

Our Offer on Transparency and Vocal Stress

The Video Game Companies have released these proposals so that the video game community can actually see and evaluate what is on the table.

We have also prepared a comparison chart. The chart shows that in the key areas SAG-AFTRA has raised as strike issues – such as vocal stress and stunt coordination – our positions, are in fact, identical

Virtually Identical Compensation Proposals

The one economic difference between the parties is the Companies’ response to the SAG-AFTRA demand for additional income for performers. But here the difference is more about semantics – not about actual money for performers. The main difference is the terminology – what that additional money is called.

The SAG-AFTRA proposal has two options for game producers. The Union’s first proposal for an optional ‘contingent fees’ structure is so onerous that no one would elect to use it. The Union’s second option is virtually identical in money to the Companies’ proposal.

While the Companies will not call that money a ‘buyout of contingent compensation,’ they will pay it to Principal Performers who work more than one session on a game. SAG-AFTRA seeks to have performers rewarded for their contribution. The Companies want the same – and have made an equitable offer that Union leaders inexplicably refuse to allow members to evaluate or even communicate broadly among membership.

There is another notable difference between the positions and it is one with a real-world impact: The Companies’ proposal is guaranteed money to the performers (who work more than one session on a game) paid at the time the game launches and is not in any way a choice by the video game producer or dependent on the success of failure of the title, so much of which is outside of a performer’s control.

SAG-AFTRA: Let Your Members Vote and Decide

The Companies have repeatedly asked Union leaders to put this package to a vote of their membership. The Union has refused, stating that Union leaders have the right to conduct a strike without further authorization from the membership. It is unfortunate that SAG-AFTRA leadership is relying on a strike vote taken more than a year ago (October 6, 2015), before the Companies made significant concessions in the areas discussed above (vocal stress, stunt coordination, transparency) and before the Companies put this generous economic proposal on the table.

The Video Game Companies are deeply disappointed that Union leadership is preventing the talent we value so highly from working on games that the player community loves.

SAG-AFTRA: Let your members vote on the Companies’ proposal. A prolonged strike only benefits non-union video game producers and non-union performance interests within the video game industry. It will also discourage the unorganized majority of developers and publishers from working with SAG-AFTRA in the future.

Recent News:

Los Angeles–None of the Interactive Video Game Companies that have bargained together have signed a contract with SAG-AFTRA.  Any report or statement that suggests otherwise is either mistaken or direct misinformation. The SAG-AFTRA strike against the major video game developers and publishers continues since it began in October 2016. While there have been no talks…
On October 27, 2016, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, issued a statement about the SAG-AFTRA strike. The following is the response provided by the counsel to the Video Game Companies. Click the button to read the full letter or see below: Read Letter October 28, 2016 Dear President Trumka: I represent the nine videogame…
Documents Prove Video Game Companies Met Union’s Economic and Other Demands For New Interactive Media Agreement LOS ANGELES, Oct. 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Video Game Companies today released copies of the Companies’ and the Union’s last proposals which show that the Companies matched SAG-AFTRA’s requests for wages, benefits, and additional compensation before the Union called…
Companies Disappointed that Union Insisted on Strike, Not Over Money But Over Terminology   LOS ANGELES, Oct. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The chief negotiator for Video Game Companies today said the Companies called upon the leadership of SAG-AFTRA to put the Companies’ final proposal for the Interactive Media Agreement to a vote of the members, rather…
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Interactive Video Game Companies made a final offer to video game performers that included an immediate 9 percent wage hike if SAG-AFTRA union members ratify the offer by Dec. 1 as part of a Comprehensive Revised and Enhanced Final Package Proposal for a new three year contract.  But the…
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The following statement is attributed to Scott J. Witlin of the law firm of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, which represents a coalition of Interactive Video Game Publishing Companies in negotiations with SAG-AFTRA for a video game contract for voice actors. “We have negotiated in good faith for the…
We want voice performers to know the facts about the wage increases, increased benefits and scheduling offers we are making to you through our negotiations with your union SAG-AFTRA. We have offered SAG-AFTRA a mutually beneficial package that rewards and respects the work and talent you provide to us and our fans.

Number of Days SAG-AFTRA Has Been on Strike

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Read the Companies final proposal given to SAG-AFTRA on October 18, 2016 at 10 p.m. before they called to strike: