As SAG-AFTRA prepares for its upcoming round of negotiations for a new film and TV contract, it continues to pressure a different set of employers – video game producers – in a labor dispute that is the longest strike in the history of SAG.
Now in its 207th day, the union’s strike against 11 video game companies has pitted the companies’ desire to maintain a 20-year-old pay structure that includes no forms of residuals against the union’s demand for some type of residuals payments. And with more than $30 billion in U.S. sales and $90 billion-plus worldwide, video games are the only major industry sector that doesn’t pay residuals.
The strike, however, already has made some small gains in that direction. According to SAG-AFTRA, 20 companies and 30 games have signed agreements the union promulgated in October that that give performers residuals amounting to a full-day’s pay for each 500,000 units sold, up to four secondary payments if the game sells 2 million units. According to the unions, “the number of signatories has quadrupled” in the first three months of 2017, “and new deals are being signed every week.”
“These deals show that other companies see that what we’re asking for is reasonable,” said striking video game performer Phil LaMarr in the latest issue of the union’s magazine.
“This is a crucial time,” SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said in the magazine. “The video game companies are getting ready to start production on a slate of new titles. They need and want our members’ talent to be on their games.”
The struck companies represent some of the industry’s largest players, including Electronic Arts, WB Games and Activision.