SAG-AFTRA will picket Insomniac Games in Burbank on Thursday, which will mark the end of the fourth week of the union’s strike against selected video game companies. Four of the company’s titles — Edge Of Nowhere, Feral Rites, Song Of The Deep and The Unspoken — are being struck.
The job action will be the third since the strike began October 21 following pickets at Electronic Arts, WB Games and VoiceWorks Productions.
“More than 700 members, including our brothers and sisters from allied unions, have joined us on the line for our first two pickets,” the union said in a statement today. “That solidarity has sent a powerful message to the video game corporations: SAG-AFTRA is tough to fight. But this struggle isn’t over. We need to keep the momentum going until the video game corporations return to the bargaining table.”
The main strike issue is residuals for successful games, but the companies have steadfastly refused to establish any back-end residuals formula. Both sides’ proposals would have given actors a bonus on top of their regular pay when they work on more than one session per game, topping out at $950 for eight sessions. The union, however, wanted to give the companies the option of paying the upfront bonus or paying residuals for successful games.
“The SAG-AFTRA proposal has two options for game producers,” the companies say on their website. “The union’s first proposal for an optional ‘contingent fees’ structure is so onerous that no one would elect to use it. The union’s second option is virtually identical in money to the companies’ proposal.”
The companies want the union to allow its members to vote on its last, best and final contract offer – which includes a 9% pay raise effective immediately if the contract is ratified by the members by December 1. That date now appears to be highly unlikely.
“This is what union’s do when they are on strike,” Scott Witlin, the companies’ chief negotiator, told Deadline. “It is not surprising that they would picket, but Thursday will be the end of the fourth week of the strike and Thanksgiving is fast approaching. You would think that the talented performers SAG-AFTRA represents would be better served by having their union leaders allow them to vote on the offer on the table that would provide for an immediate increase of 9% and additional compensation that brings the increase to up to 23% or more.”