SAG-AFTRA Seeks “Honest Overture” From Struck Video Game Companies To Resume Talks

David Robb/Deadline

SAG-AFTRA today said it’s ready to return to the bargaining table to end the 232-day strike against nine video game companies if it receives an “honest overture” to do so. The union’s statement comes a day after the struck companies invited the union to resume negotiations, which have been stalled since last fall. The strike is now the longest in the history of SAG.

“We’ve received the game companies’ press release extending a welcome back to the bargaining table,” the union said in a statement. “We would welcome an honest overture from management indicating they are prepared to move on our issues. Their negotiator knows where to reach us.”

In response, a spokesman for the companies said they are “always open to discussion” and “hope SAG-AFTRA union leaders will engage in thoughtful and meaningful discussions that will benefit all parties.”

As reported here yesterday, the companies said they “would welcome the union back to the table for meaningful conversations,” and “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 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. None of the struck companies, however, have broken ranks and signed the agreement. The struck companies represent some of the industry’s largest players including Electronic Arts, WB Games and Activision.

SAG-AFTRA, meanwhile, is wrapping the second week of negotiations with management’s AMPTP for a new three-year film and TV contract. That contract expires June 30.

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