SAG-AFTRA Signs More Than 15 Game Companies To New Agreement Due To Strike
SAG-AFTRA Voice Strike
(Last Updated On: March 16, 2017)

We haven’t heard a lot about the progress of the SAG-AFRTA video game strike after the initial picketing, despite the fact that the strike is still ongoing. Initially the strike took place back in late October of 2016, and has carried through up until the present date. We heard about the picketing outside of offices like Electronic Arts and WB Games, but it didn’t seem like a lot of progress was being made. However, behind the scenes new contracts were being written up, new deals were being made, and game companies were quietly adding signatures to SAG’s agreements.

A representative for SAG-AFTRA notified One Angry Gamer that since starting the strike in late October of 2016, 22 games and 15 companies have signed the new agreement. According to the rep, those signatures have doubled within the “first three months of 2017”, which would mean up to 30 companies could be signed to the new agreement.

Chief contracts officer for SAG-AFTRA, Ray Rodriguez, commented about the increased signatures to the new agreements, explaining in a statement to One Angry Gamer…

“Over the past two months, we’ve doubled the number of games and almost doubled the number of companies signed to our new video game agreements,”

 

“This success is a testament to our union’s willingness to work closely with employers who want the best talent in the business to work on their games. As projects ranging from AAA titles to low-budget experimental games continue to go union, our momentum will only build.”

We don’t know exactly which of those 15 companies have signed the SAG-AFTRA agreements, nor are there details on the other companies who joined the initial 15 in signing the new agreements.

Additionally, we don’t exactly know if any of the conditions have been altered based on what was originally proposed back in October regarding residual royalties for voice actors after a game hits a specific set of sale milestones.

Back in November of 2016, SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris explained that voice actors only received about 0.03% of Call of Duty’s $15 billion in revenue, and that the strike would put an end to the “culture of exploitation”.

Scott Witlin, chief negotiator for the publishers, had also stated back in November of 2016 that publishers were willing to increase the upfront payments to voice actors by $950 and that publishers were also willing to acquiesce to various demands, save for the conditions relating to residuals and the condition about offering more details about a project before the actor signs on.

It’s not clear if all of the original SAG-AFTRA conditions are being met with the new agreements or if there were some concessions that were made closer to what Witlin put on the table following the strike. What we do know is that more companies seem to be quietly signing SAG’s new agreement in hopes of ending the video game voice actor strike.


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About

Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • brad swanson

    I want to play WOW so bad. Been boycotting since the strike began. Blizzard is owned by Activision. I hope we get a list of the companies that agreed to the terms. I NEED WOW!!!!

  • Calem

    >Call of Duty
    When they just pick whatever made the most money, it just shows they have no idea about the market. Especially CoD is primarily sold due to multiplayer gameplay, not really due to ‘good acting’ in singleplayer campaigns. At least pick games like GTA, SW:TOR or hell, even Skyrim, where acting is more important, to make a point.

    I get that this is a minor point to complain about, but I just expect them to at least know about videogames when they make demands that can have negative impact on not just publishers, studios, programmers that have a huge workload and get laid off regularly after successfully shipping a game, but also on the consumer because it could again lead to raised prices of games.

    Triple AAA already decided that standard prices are between 60-70€, when they were 40-50€ a few years ago. Games are sold like hot bread just due to hype. Studios become lazy and rush projects, because they know their brand will carry them.

  • daniel_ream

    SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris

    Hang on – the same Gabrielle Carteris that played the 30-year old teenager on the original 90210?

    Good to see SAG-AFTRA’s represented by the cream of Hollywood, there.

    Although in all fairness, she does seem to have done a fair bit of video game and animation voice work since.

  • durka durka

    I dont want any more blah blah blah in my games. There i said it.

  • Mr.Towel

    Dumb question coming from someone who is not a Yankee…

    Is it true that participation on unions are mandatory in the US ?

    I heard that many teachers are forced to pay the teacher’s union despite not wanting to participate. I wonder if SAG is the same.

    • Dead Jester

      It depends on what State you live in. Just over half have what are called right-to-work-laws, which basically mean that you don’t have to join a union.

      • Mr.Towel

        Thank you, now it’s all much clearer to me.

        By the way, just did a quick check on which states these laws are present… it seems to be only the more libertarian ones. The SJW Hive Infestation states seems to be the ones that force you to pay the union.

        http://wjpnola.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/unnamed.gif

    • Ian Ray Hawke

      Today, only about 6% of workers in the U.S. are union members. By law, a majority of employees have to vote for establishing a union in order for one to be present. Since unions require payment of dues, there has to be a serious reason for workers to desire a union. In the case of the video game industry there were abuses of employees that made union membership their choice.

      • In the case of the video game industry there were abuses of employees that made union membership their choice.

        For the voice actors, to be exact. There’s still no union for the standard employees (most of whom work on contractual basis) and a lot of them are leery about unionizing (mostly because programmers get the most safety net and don’t really have much of a reason to unionize).

        • Ian Ray Hawke

          That’s a good point, Billy. Unionizing is a tough decision and, historically, it is a last resort when employers are just refusing to consider the safety and/or job needs of their employees.

  • LurkerJK

    oh dear, not disclosing the companies is screaming that they are small and irrelevant

    to be honest i had completely forgotten about this, im sure your average youtuber would kill their families to do your job for half what you are paid and plenty of immigrants to do it for far less (we are not doing white characters anymore anyway, the accent is fine, see Mass Effect Andromeda, diversity is our strength), sooooo….. good luck with that

    • im sure your average youtuber would kill their families to do your job for half what you are paid and plenty of immigrants to do it for far less

      A lot of indie companies actually do this. I think they did something similar with like Freedom Planet.

      • LurkerJK

        Oh, i know, and tell you what, they sound better than what known tv/movie actors paid millions phone in for many AAA games, always a very efficient use of your budget, Double Fine knows

      • Bitterbear

        Nintendo does it too.

        HINT: Search YouTube for The bedfellows and see if you can recognize the voices.

  • DDD-kun

    In summary, Performance Matters did not matter a single whit. I will seriously consider giving any company that continues to use SAG-AFTRA union employment a second thought about buying games from at least as far as the US domestic market is concerned. I’m [my face is] long-since tired of being dragged into shenanigans that were none of my concern in the first place. Grown people should be able to resolve their circumstances without needing a cheerleading squad.