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Video game voice actors' union calls 'interactive strike' to combat unfair treatment

Video game voice actors' union calls 'interactive strike' to combat unfair treatment

October 17, 2016 | By Chris Kerr

U.S. screen actors guild SAG-AFTRA has called an "interactive strike" after failing to reach an agreement with game developers regarding the fair treatment of video game voice actors. 

Although it's heading back to the negotiating table on October 17 in an attempt to get devs to sign off on a new contract "rooted in industry standards and best practices," the group isn't convinced a deal will be reached. 

With that in mind, it's asking all SAG-AFTRA members to prepare for a strike on October 21, and has named a number of targets including major players such as Activision, Insomniac, Warner Bros. Games, EA, and Take 2. 

"Despite years of concerted effort and negotiating sessions, video game employers have steadfastly refused to reach a fair deal during our contract negotiations," wrote the guild. 

"Make sure that every actor you know -- whether they are in the union or not -- understands the importance of the issues and honors the strike."

SAG-AFTRA is keen to improve working conditions by implementing a number of contractual changes relating to, among other things, "vocally stressful sessions" and sales-contingent compensation. 

To that end, the guild is asking that "all covered services" be withheld, including voice acting, performance capture, background work, and principal on camera work. 

"The video game employers we are striking continue to operate under the terms of an agreement structured more than twenty years ago for an Industry that was only beginning to utilize professional performances," reads an additional strike bulletin. 

"It is time for this now mature industry to pay and treat professional performers according to the standards and precedents that our union has established and defended for generations."

For more information on the strike and SAG-AFTRA's motivations, you can read the complete bulletin right here.

UPDATE: Scott J. Witlin, a member of the law firm representing multiple involved video game companies, released a statement earlier today in response to the threat of strike reported above. 

"We have negotiated in good faith for the past 18 months with SAG-AFTRA union leaders, and are making progress toward a new contract,” says Wiltkin. “We are deeply disappointed to learn today of the Union's threatened strike and its unilateral violation of the mutually agreed upon 'news black-out' on negotiation discussions.”

"The Video Game Companies had already scheduled bargaining sessions this week with SAG-AFTRA union leaders to attempt to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.  We expect these negotiations to remain in place, and will continue to attempt to reach a fair and equitable contract despite the Union leadership's most recent threatened labor action."

The statement can be read in full here

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