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Longest Actors Strike in History is Over

After 340 days, SAG-AFTRA video game actors approve new contract ending their strike

Brian Young's picture
Nov 14, 2017

The longest actors strike in history is officially over. Last year, UCOMM reported on the voices of video games going on strike. Now, after 340 days of walking the picket line, the strike has come to an end.

Voice actors at 11 major video game companies walked out on October 21, 2016. These voice actors wanted similar compensation to what they would receive for television or movie work. With video game sales booming, this has become a $25 billion market. Instead of receiving residuals based on the sales of the game, these actors were getting a standard $825 per four-hour recording session.

In an effort to protect their profits, the video game companies refused to budge on residuals. In the end, both sides came to an agreement, providing actors bonuses based on the amount of sessions they recorded. For an actor working at the base rate, this would be $75 for the first session and up to $2,100 after 10 sessions worked. This could work out better for the talent anyway since they get the money up front and don’t have to wait to see if they have a hit on their hands.

Other gains that were made in the contract include more transparency that requires the company to release the name of the game, the genre, and what the game is based on before the actors agree to be in the game. Previously, this information was not made available and actors would read for a part not knowing how it would be used, only to later find out that they had a problem with the violence, sexism or racism that existed in the game. This information also will give SAG-AFTRA more power to negotiate contracts for these games, since they can ask for more money for certain genres or certain controversial games.

 “This agreement is the first step towards streamlining the work our members do in the video game industry,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. The deal includes significant improvements in the area of transparency and the payment structure ensures that our members are compensated fairly for their work. I am excited for what this means for our members moving forward.”

The strike will go down as the longest actors strike in history. Stretching from October 21, 2016, until the strike was suspended in late September 7,200 members were prevented from working in the video game industry. The strike officially ended on November 7th when 90% of the members voted to approve the new contract.

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