SAG-AFTRA Holds Its Largest Video Game Strike Rally To Date

by Robert Workman

(Photo: Jesse Grant/SAF-AFTRA)

Earlier today, the SAG-AFTRA group held its biggest rally to date as it continues to march on with its video game strike, which had been ongoing since October 21st, 2016.

Approximately 160,000 members have been on strike following its beginning a few months back, naming the likes of Electronic Arts, Activision and others for unfair practices regarding concessions and secondary payments to voice actors.

President Gabrielle Carteris spoke with a group of nearly 500 people, including SAG-AFTRA members, as well as members of WGA, DGA, Actors Equity and other groups. “This is a crucial time. The video game companies are getting ready to start production on a slate of new titles. They need and want our members’ talent to be on their games,” she noted. “I urge these video game corporations to accept the industry-standard agreements that they know are fair and right so we can get back to work – together.” 

National Executive Director David White added, “Enough is enough. It’s time for the video game corporations to stop stalling and meet us halfway. Working together we can achieve continued growth for their companies along with fair compensation and safe sets for our members. Their continued stalling is only going to slow down their game production and hurt their bottom lines.”

(Photo: Jesse Grant/SAG-AFTRA)

SAG-AFTRA Interactive Negotiating Committee Chair Keythe Farley also chimed in. “I can't believe we're still fighting for this contract two years later. I thought we'd be done by lunch on day one. I figured we were all eager to update the substandard, 20-year-old contract that we’ve been operating under and start fresh with a modern, industry-standard agreement that protects, and fairly compensates, performers working on today’s video games. The one thing that keeps me going is our members' dedication and commitment to a fair contract. It's the same dedication they bring to their performances, so I guess it's no surprise, really."

That said, some progress is being made, as nearly a dozen games have been signed as part of SAG-AFTRA’s new interactive deal, which includes secondary compensation, transparency and stunt safety provisions. “These deals show that other companies see that what we're asking for is reasonable,” noted Interacting Negotiating Committee member (and voice actor) Phil Lamarr.

Here’s hoping other companies follow suit and find a peaceful solution to this ongoing issue.

(Photo: Jesse Grant/SAG-AFTRA)

By Robert Workman

Robert Workman has spent years working in the video game industry, for sites like Shacknews, AOL GameDaily and Marooners Rock. He's also very skilled in contributing to podcasts and video broadcasts, and can pretty much out-game you under the table. Oh, and just go ahead and ask him about glorious craft beers. Go on, ask him.