The Hollywood actors' union, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), has rejected a proposed contract with the video game industry, following three months of negotiations and threatened strike action, according to an official statement from the guild.
The crisis originally arose
as the union expressed concerns that actors were being underpaid for their work in video games. It was thought that the new contract had addressed the issues, with the new contract only needing to be approved by SAG’s national committee, after being recommended by the negotiating committee
and SAG staffers.
The contract has already been approved by the smaller American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), though, and since many game voice-over actors belong to both unions, all resulting pension and health contributions will go to that union and not to SAG.
The deal, brokered by leading gaming companies, offered to boost wages for voiceover and other performers by 36 percent over the life of the contract. However, the unions were unable to obtain residuals, or a share in the revenues generated by the games they perform in.
The existing three-year Interactive contract expired on May 13th, which would make it impossible for SAG only members to work on any new video game title. However, since many voiceover actors are either non-union members or jointly members of AFTRA, it is as yet unclear exactly what effect the rejection will have on current productions.