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Game developers say union striking over terminology, not money

Update (10/25/2016)

According to representatives from both SAG-AFTRA and the video game companies, both parties agreed to table the issues of vocal stress, transparency, and the presence of stunt coordinators in a last ditched effort to avoid the strike.

 

Original Story

Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) stated that it is going on strike for contractual issues of transparency, vocal stress, and secondary pay, but according to a press release we received from the video game companies’ spokespeople, both parties had already made significant headway on those points prior to the strike.

The issue, then, was not the package, but the terminology, according to Sam Singer, a spokesperson for the video game companies. Singer said the union wanted the contentious Interactive Media Agreement to include the phrase “contingent compensation” as opposed to the contract’s current phrase: “additional fees”. However, the video game companies’ press release calls both payment structures “almost identical”. [We’ve reached out to SAG-AFTRA for further comment.]

The final package offered to SAG-AFTRA included an immediate 9 percent wage hike and up to $950 in additional compensation per game. Scott Witlin, the lawyer and chief negotiator representing the video game companies, said this package looked “almost identical” to the union’s last demand prior to the strike.

That being said, the issues union members are striking on include more than just a pay increase — SAG-AFTRA is also fighting for greater actor safety and company transparency. On these issues, Singer said, “Both the video game companies and SAG-AFTRA had reached substantial alignment on the issues of voice stress, transparency, and additional compensation prior to the union deciding to strike…” [See SAG-AFTRA’s response in 10/25 update above.]

A picket line will form in front of EA’s Playa Vista, California office on Mon. Oct. 24 at 10:30 a.m. Meanwhile, read what voice actors are saying about the strike on Twitter.

We’ll update the story as it develops…

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