The Actors’ Equity Association has backed SAG-AFTRA’s month-0ld strike against video game companies and told members not to accept voice-over or performance capture work from the 11 struck companies.
“Equity members are reminded that they cannot accept work from these employers, and they should contact Equity immediately if they are offered any such employment,” said AEA Executive Director Mary McColl.
She also called on the video game corporations to return to the bargaining table. She said her union “stands in solidarity with and support of its sister union SAG-AFTRA as it fights for a fair contract for voice-over and motion-capture performers.”
SAG-AFTRA has staged three pickets since the strike began on Oct. 21. The latest came Thursday against Insomniac Games in Burbank.
“The video game corporations we’re striking have tried to sow divisions among our membership instead of returning to the bargaining table to negotiate a fair contract,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “Not only are SAG-AFTRA members united in this strike action, but they have the support of their union brothers and sisters from AEA. I want to thank Mary McColl and the AEA leadership for their strong support.”
The struck companies are Insomniac Games; Warner Bros.; EA; Activision Publishing; Blindlight; Corps of Discovery Films; Disney Character Voices, Inc.; Formosa Interactive, LLC; Interactive Associates; Take 2 Interactive Software; and VoiceWorks Productions.
Negotiations cratered last month over the key issues of secondary compensation (residuals) and transparency for voice actors — meaning that the union wants companies to stop being able to hire without identifying the game. Scott Witlin, who represents the video game companies, has repeatedly blasted the union leadership for not allowing members to vote on the final offer, providing an immediate 9% pay hike.
“The AEA and SAG-AFTRA are sister organizations,” he said. “So this is like a political candidate getting the support from his mother. It is a testament to the weakness of SAG-AFTRA’s position that it took more than 4 weeks to get AEA to endorse this strike. The same performers to whom we are offering $900 for a day’s work, can be paid as little as $492 for a full week when working under an AEA contract.”
“The AEA’s weighing in on this dispute only highlights how well the SAG-AFTRA negotiators have done in getting the Videogame Companies to put an offer on the table that offers a 9% increase and Additional Compensation of up to $950 per game. SAG-AFTRA should stop blocking a democratic vote on the Companies’ Comprehensive and Enhanced Final Package Proposal so the strike can end.”