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A guild representing video game voice actors recently voted to have a strike if necessary. If the guild cannot come to an agreement with the gaming industry, a strike will occur starting on October 21. The guild in question SAG-AFTRA announced on its website that they have met multiple times with the video game industry for negotiation sessions in order to strike a deal, all of which have failed. The presumably final negotiation session will occur on October 17-19 with the goal of “creating a fair contract that is rooted in industry standards and best practices.”
SAG-AFTRA says that none of its proposals are “not loaded with any crazy demands.” Key supporters of the strike are Roger Craig Smith of Batman and Assassin’s Creed fame, Jennifer Hale, who is famous for her contributions for Mass Effect and Guild Wars, as well as actor Wil Wheaton.
SAG-AFTRA isn’t confident that a deal will be met. They’re targeting 11 different gaming companies including EA, Activision and Take-Two. The guild will also target Blindlight, Corps of Discovery Films, Disney Character Voices, Formosa Interactive, Insomniac Games, VoiceWorks Production and WB Games. The guild also said that voice actors should strike on projests post February 17, 2015.
SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said in an interview with Deadline that:
A strike is not to be entered into lightly, but when the employers leave us with no recourse, we must stand firm for our members. It is imperative that we secure for them the protections, compensation and benefits they deserve.”
SAG-AFTRA says that the gaming industry refuses to offer residual payment bonuses and other profit-sharing opportunities and also denied a proposal that would shorten recording sessions times to two hours to help an actor prevent damage to his or her voice.
Lawyer Scott J. Witlin who is representing the video game industry responded to the strike with:
We consider the Union’s threatened labor action to call a strike precipitous, unnecessary, and an action that will only harm their membership. SAG-AFTRA represents performers in less than 25 percent of the video games on the market. Any strike would not only deny SAG-AFTRA’s membership work, but this would also give their competitors, who do not engage union talent, a leg up while any strike would be in place.
Witlin says that video game actors represented by SAG-AFTRA make $100/hour with benefits. He also says that the SAG-AFTRA strike websites has “inaccurate and out-of-date” information and that the current collective bargaining agreement has a “no-strike provision” that will allow development of current projects unabated.-