SAG-AFTRA and major video game companies have acknowledged they are willing to return to the table to resume negotiations after an eight-month strike by voice actors. Neither side has said what direction they are willing to take in the negotiations though.
SAG-AFTRA said in a statement
We’ve received the game companies’ press release extending a welcome back to the bargaining table. We would welcome an honest overture from management indicating they are prepared to move on our issues. Their negotiator knows where to reach us.
The game companies responded
The Interactive Video Games Companies are always open to discussion. We hope SAG-AFTRA union leaders will engage in thoughtful and meaningful discussions that will benefit all parties.
The SAG-AFTRA previously went on strike after negotiations fell apart in October 2015, they then went on strike In October 2016. The strikes were being held against Insomniac Games; Warner Bros.; Electronic Arts; Activision Publishing; Blindlight; Corps of Discovery Films; Disney Character Voices, Inc.; Formosa Interactive, LLC; Interactive Associates; Take 2 Interactive Software; and VoiceWorks Productions.
The issue at the core of the discussions was that of performers not receiving residuals from game sales for those titles that sell well. The idea of residuals in the gaming industry isn’t a common one as it is rare to hear of a game developer seeing any residual bonuses from hit games. SAG-AFTRA was also wanting to know what game the performers would be working on before signing contracts. This one is a tough one since SAG-AFTRA have leaked game titles on their website in the past, something which Publishers would be keen not to see repeated.
Previously, the game companies had offered a 9% pay increase which SAG-AFTRA rejected, apparently without asking its members according to Scott Witlin, who represents the video game companies.
The statements made come after recent reports that the voice actors had made progress in making deals at the terms it had been bargaining for. To that, the games companies announced
None of the Interactive Video Game Companies that have bargained together have signed a contract with SAG-AFTRA. Any report or statement that suggests otherwise is either mistaken or direct misinformation.
SAG-AFTRA responded saying they had signed 45 games and 33 companies to independently negotiated agreements since starting the strike. They also released a list of non-struck titles which includes “safe harbor” titles and newly signed deals.