Agreement promises improved pay and working conditions for video game voice actors.
After more than a year, SAG-AFTRA — a union representing a multitude of entertainment professionals including actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, voice-over artists and many more — has rallied against 11 different video game companies for improved treatment and financial compensation of the voice actors in many of our favorite games. The strike included Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, publishers of Injustice 2 and other NetherRealm Studios titles. We first reported on the strike back in October 2016.
It seems now that a tentative agreement has been reached, and the strike may at last come to an end. As stated by SAG-AFTRA:
The terms of the tentative agreement, which was reached early Saturday morning, include a new bonus structure that provides an additional payment to performers. The bonus payment, which is due no later than the release date of the game, is based on the number of sessions worked on each game, beginning with a $75 payment on the first session and totaling $2,100 after 10 sessions worked.
“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. “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 Interactive Negotiating Committee, said the strike delivered key victories 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. 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,” said Farley. “Those are the victories that this strike has brought us.”
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, another that would have required agents to submit performers for low-paying “atmospheric voice” sessions or face fines, and a possible revocation of their union franchise, and another that would have allowed employers to use their permanent staff to do covered work outside of the collective bargaining agreement.
The contract will next be reviewed by the SAG-AFTRA National Board at its October meeting.
Source: SAG-AFTRA [press release]