November 3, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Los Angeles, CA – SAG-AFTRA members at 11 video-game companies, including Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard, have been on strike since Oct. 21.
The workers who do voiceovers, stunts, and motion-capture work for the games walked out after the companies would not agree to pay them residuals for games that sell more than 2 million copies, the union says. “They are not seriously addressing critical issues including how human beings are valued in the brutal technology marketplace,” Ray Rodriguez, SAG-AFTRA’s chief contracts officer and lead negotiator, told Deadline.com Oct. 28. Both sides agreed that actors should get a bonus for working on more than one session per game, up to $950 for eight sessions, but the union wanted to give the game companies the option of making “secondary payments”—residuals—instead of the upfront bonus. They “adamantly refused,” it said. On Oct. 28, a PR firm representing the companies launched a Web site that claimed the strike “did not have to happen” and threatened that they would withdraw their offer of a 9% pay increase and the bonuses if the union didn’t ratify their last contract offer by Dec. 1. SAG-AFTRA demanded that they take down the site—called sagaftravideogames.com—for trademark infringement, because it included a Twitter post with the union’s logo. Read more