Almost one-year after the strike began, SAG-AFTRA actors and video-game companies reached an agreement during the weekend.
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.”
Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez, who was the lead negotiator on the new contract, said that the deal includes significant improvements in the area of transparency.
“The new transparency provisions will enhance the bargaining power of our members’ representatives by requiring the companies to disclose the code name of project, its genre, whether the game is based on previously published intellectual property and whether the performer is reprising a prior role,” said Rodriguez. “Members are also protected by the disclosure of whether they will be required to use unusual terminology, profanity or racial slurs, whether there will be content of a sexual or violent nature and whether stunts will be required.”
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.
“We want to thank our counterparts at SAG-AFTRA for their efforts to conclude this labor dispute and reach a deal that will bring SAG-AFTRA members back to work on upcoming videogame projects,” said chief negotiator Scott Witlin. “The Videogame Companies and SAG-AFTRA both worked hard to reach this deal and end the strike.”
The coalition of Videogame Companies who bargained jointly for convenience with SAG-AFTRA on the Interactive Media Agreement include: Activision Productions, Inc., Blindlight, LLC, Disney Character Voices, Inc., Electronic Arts Productions, Inc., Formosa Interactive, LLC, Insomniac Games, Inc., Take 2 Productions, Inc., VoiceWorks Productions, Inc., and, WB Games, Inc.