SAG-AFTRA: Better working conditions for voice actors is good for devs, too

"I know who wins the battle between game developers and voice actors," SAG-AFTRA's Keythe Farley told Waypoint. "It's the game corporations."
"I know who wins the battle between game developers and voice actors. It's the game corporations."

- Keythe Farley, national chair of SAG-AFTRA's Interactive Negotiating Committee, speaking to Waypoint.

Last year, after rounds of failed negotations, the U.S. screen actors guild SAG-AFTRA called an "interactive strike" against 11 video game companies.

That strike continues apace in the new year, having already seen multiple picket actions at the offices of game companies like Insomniac, WB Games and Electronic Arts. One of the big sticking points of the strike is the union's demand for voice actors to receive bonuses tied to a game's performance -- a flat cash payout for every 2 million copies a game sells, with a maximum payout of four bonus payouts when a game surpasses 8 million sales.

This particular demand ruffled the feathers of some folks in the game industry, since most game developers don't receive bonuses tied to how many copies their work sells. However, in a feature published by Waypoint last month, a number of SAG-AFTRA representatives and members speak out about how the strike is going -- and make an interesting case for why game developers should support their efforts.

"The video game corporations [used hered to identify the specific companies SAG-AFTRA is striking against] have done a good job of making some of the developers feel like video game performers should not get anything because the developers don't," said Ray Rodriguez, who serves as a chief negotiator for SAG-AFTRA. "The real question should be, why don't the video game corporations want the developers to have better working conditions? To work less hours? To have work-life balance? To have better pay? To have job stability? We hope that developers recognize that and come together to protect their careers. And when they do, we will stand with them and help them in any way we can."

"It's very useful to them to have actors and devs fighting each other," chimed in SAG-AFTRA Interactive Negotiating Committee national chair Keythe Farley. "It's a divide and conquer strategy."

The full feature, which unfortunately includes no input from the video game companies targeted by the strike (though they were reportedly contacted for comment), contains a lot of interesting input from video game voice actors that's well worth reading over on Waypoint.

For further perspective from both sides of the strike, check out SAG-AFTRA's official strike hub and the website the targeted companies have established to argue their side.

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