After voting in favor of it at this time last year, video game voice actors will go on strike effective Friday, October 21, if no agreement is met before then. As SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) explains on their website, “Despite years of concerted effort and negotiating sessions, video game employers have steadfastly refused to reach a fair deal during our contract negotiations.”
Although they’re set to hold negotiations from October 17 to 19 to create “a fair contract that is rooted in industry standards and best practices,” SAG-AFTRA isn’t confident that management is willing to make the necessary changes. So, if no deal is met in time, voice actors will be striking the following companies on October 21 at 12:01am:
- Activision Publishing
- Corps of Discovery Films
- Disney Character Voices
- Electronic Arts Productions
- Formosa Interactive
- Insomniac Games
- Interactive Associates
- Take-Two Interactive
- VoiceWorks Productions
- WB Games
The strike will affect all covered services, including voice acting, motion capture, background work, performing on a trailer for a struck game and performing on downloadable content (DLC), and more. However, games that went into production before February 17, 2015 will be unaffected by the strike.
As SAG-AFTRA details in their official strike notice, the key issues they’re looking to negotiate on are contingent compensation for successful games, a cap of two hours on certain sessions to reduce vocal stress, transparency on the role the voice actor will be performing, and stunt co-ordinators being present when dangerous work is to be done.
In response to the strike notice, Barnes & Thornburg, a law firm representing the collection of companies, said:
We have negotiated in good faith for the past 18 months with SAG-AFTRA union leaders, and are making progress toward a new contract. 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.
If a deal is met in time, we’ll let you know.