Monday, October 17, 2016

SAG-AFTRA Hitting the Bricks

Deadline informs us:

SAG-AFTRA’s National Board of Directors has voted unanimously on a strike date against major video game employers, and if negotiations are unsuccessful, will walk go on strike Friday, October 21 at 12:01 a.m.

The union will be striking a litany of video game industry giants, including Activision Publishing, Inc.; Blindlight, LLC; Corps of Discovery Films; Disney Character Voices, Inc.; Electronic Arts Productions, Inc.; Formosa Interactive, LLC; Insomniac Games, Inc.; Interactive Associates, Inc.; Take 2 Interactive Software; VoiceWorks Productions, Inc.; and WB Games, Inc. If no deal is reached, all games which went into production after February 17, 2015 will be struck. ...

The decision comes amid an increasingly bitter battle between the guild and the video games industry over the treatment and compensation of voice actors. For years, the video game industry has made heavy use of non union labor or has used union labor for non union work, with more strict adherence to some guild standards observed in Los Angeles and New York where SAG AFTRA has a much heavier presence. In 2015, SAG AFTRA resolved to negotiate better deals for union members for their work within one of the largest entertainment industries in the world.

In many ways, the dispute comes down to the stark differences between the tech sector and the entertainment industry, a problem exacerbated by the way the video game industry straddles both worlds. ...

This comes down to, as it often does, to a matter of leverage.

If SAG can make the video game business take some sort of financial hit over the lack of SAG-AFTRA members, and a significant portion of the business thinks negotiating a better deal for actors can allow it to avoid hurt of its own, the guild could get somewhere. Otherwise, probably not.

Judging from the game consortium's response, it appears it might fall in the "probably not" column, (but maybe the gamesters are blowing a wee bit of smoke).


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