As SAG-AFTRA continues to negotiate a new film and TV contract, nine video game companies the union has been on strike against since last October today invited the union to return to the bargaining table. The walkout is now in its 231st day – by far the longest strike in SAG history.
“While there have been no talks since last fall, the video game companies would welcome the union back to the table for meaningful conversations,” the struck companies said in a statement. “The companies look forward to the time when SAG-AFTRA will let its members return to the work that they love.”
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 union says that 20 companies and 30 games have signed agreements it promulgated in October 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.
The struck companies represent some of the industry’s largest players including Electronic Arts, WB Games and Activision. They say that none of their members have broken ranks and signed that agreement, and the union has never claimed they have. “None of the interactive video game companies that have bargained together have signed a contract with SAG-AFTRA,” the companies said. “Any report or statement that suggests otherwise is either mistaken or direct misinformation.”
SAG-AFTRA, meanwhile, is in the second week of negotiations with management’s AMPTP for a new three-year film and TV contract. The union’s current contract expires June 30.