Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Union Activity

Since we are not, strictly speaking, all cartoons all the time, allow me to overview some of the labor stuff now happening here in Tinsel Town.

For the first time in more than a decade, composers and lyricists working in film, TV and videogames are considering unionization.

The Society of Composers & Lyricists was scheduled to announce at its annual membership meeting Tuesday night that an "informational meeting" about the possibility of affiliating with Teamsters Local 399 will be held Nov. 16 at the Pickwick Gardens Conference Center in Burbank, Calif. ...

Composers and lyricists are among the few creatives left without a collective bargaining agreement. Services like orchestration, conducting and music performance are covered by American Federation of Musicians (AFM) agreements, but not the act of writing music or lyrics ...

The point of this is, most people working in the movie and teevee biz ultimately understand that they get more money and receive more benefits when they are unionized. And speaking of more money ....

Members of the Screen Actors Guild have rejected a tentative deal with videogame employers, prompting the guild to ask the companies to go back to the bargaining table.

The rejection, announced Wednesday, comes a week and a half after SAG’s national board approved sending out the deal to four member caucuses.

Opposition to the deal emerged at the Hollywood member caucus on Tuesday night over the “atmospheric” provisions allowing employers to use actors to perform up to 20 voices of up to 300 words at the daily base rate -- viewed by some as a reduction from the current pacts ...

The problem for SAG (also AFTRA) in their vid game contracts is they don't have a hell of a lot of leverage -- one of my core values and beliefs, as you know.

The actors' unions are among the few labor organizations with contracts covering video game work, but even so these contracts are the weak links in their chain of deals, with no residuals and skim-milk minimum rates.

But then, game companies have been quite happy to use non-union thespians and sound alikes, and game sales haven't been impacted much if at all. (Hence the so-so employment contracts.)

It's hard to be effective at the bargaining table when you have no pistol or large club to wield.


Anonymous said...

Good for them. We need more unions. I hope they can get it together.

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