Claiming that it “has the momentum” in its 23-week-old strike against selected video game companies, SAG-AFTRA says “many signs indicate that our strike is working” and that the 11 struck companies “are feeling the pressure.”
The union says that it’s signed 25 video games and 18 companies to a contract it promulgated in October that gives performers residuals amounting to a full-day’s pay for each 500,000 units sold, up to four secondary payments if the games sells 2 million units.
Residuals remain the key issue in the strike, which began October 21. The guild wants to give the game companies the option of paying an upfront bonus to performers or paying backend residuals on successful games. The companies, however, steadfastly have refused to include any residuals formula in the collective bargaining agreement.
The strike already is the third-longest in Hollywood history, after the violent seven-month strike led by the Conference of Studio Unions in 1945 and SAG’s 183-day commercials strike of 2000. The 2007-08 WGA strike lasted 100 days.
The union says it is investigating reports that its members have been approached by casting directors to do work for one of the 11 struck video game companies. The union is reminding its members that performing struck work is a violation of its Global Rule One, which states that “no member shall render any services or make an agreement to perform services for any employer who has not executed a basic minimum agreement with the union, which is in full force and effect, in any jurisdiction in which there is a SAG-AFTRA national collective bargaining agreement in place.”
“Simply put,” the union says, “a SAG-AFTRA member must always work under a union contract around the globe.” This, however, doesn’t apply to union members who are anchors and correspondents employed at CNN, Fox News, MSNBC or NBC News – which decertified AFTRA in 2006 – because although the union doesn’t have any contracts with those news outlets, it also doesn’t have a national collective-bargaining agreement in place covering network news operations in general.
Even so, the union, which is celebrating the fifth anniversary of the 2012 merger of SAG and AFTRA, pointed to “important organizing victories at public media outlets like KPCC, KNBR and at Spanish-language stations La Raza and MEGA, which were a prelude to our critical win at Telemundo – the first effort to organize network television actors in more than 65 years.”