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Voice actors' union calls strike against Activision, EA, Insomniac and more

Voice actors' union calls strike against Activision, EA, Insomniac and more

October 21, 2016 | By Chris Kerr

October 21, 2016 | By Chris Kerr
More: Business/Marketing

U.S. screen actors guild SAG-AFTRA is striking against game devs after failing to negotiate a new deal to improve working conditions for video game voice actors. 

The group threatened a strike earlier this week, and made good on its promise today by going on strike just after midnight.

According to SAG-AFTRA, those involved in talks remain unwilling to agree to terms that "would bring the interactive contract into the 21st century."

As a result, the guild is now striking against the following games companies: Activision, Blindlight, Corps of Discovery Films, Disney Character Voices, EA, Formosa Interactive, Insomniac, Interactive Associates, Take Two, VoiceWorks, and Warner Bros. Games. 

The strike will slow down, or potentially even halt the development of games that went into production after February 17, 2015. 

The two biggest points of contention for SAG-AFTRA are employer transparency and secondary, sales-based compensation. 

Regarding the transparency issue, game employers did apparently agree to disclose whether a role would bring an actor into contact with "potentially objectionable material," however, much to the guild's dismay, they refuse to tell a performer's agent what game an actor would be working on. 

SAG-AFTRA believes such a stance stops its actors from making educated decisions regarding whether or not to take a job, or negotiate further compensation. 

As for the sales-related compensation, employers said they'd be willing to give actors a bonus based on the number of sessions they worked, but refused to dish out bonuses if a game surpasses 2 million sales. 

SAG-AFTRA says the strike isn't its preferred outcome, but is now calling on all of its members, and even non-members, to honor the decision.  

"[We've] gone to the negotiations table with serious concerns affecting voiceover and stunt performers,” said SAG-AFTRA CCO, Ray Rodriguez.

"It's time for video game employers to take our concerns seriously and negotiate a modern contract based on actor safety, industry precedent and best practices."

You can find out more about the strike by reading SAG-AFTRA's official strike notice.

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