Video Game Companies’ Message to the Video Game Community
SAG-AFTRA leadership ordered this strike based upon a year-old strike authorization without sharing with its members the contents of the Companies’ Comprehensive Revised and Enhanced Final Package Proposal
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.
Read the Companies’ Comprehensive Revised and Enhanced Final Package Proposal, of the evening of October 18, 2016, incorporating concessions from the Union’s response. This was presented to the Union before they called to strike.
Additionally, here you can find the Companies’ Comprehensive Revised and Enhanced Final Package Proposal, of the afternoon of October 18, 2016, and the Union’s Response to the Companies’ Comprehensive Revised and Enhanced Final Package Proposal.
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 ‘contingency 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 or 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 with the video game industry. It will also discourage the unorganized majority of developers and publishers from working with SAG-AFTRA in the future.