SAG-AFTRA Blast Videogame Companies Over Strike Web Site!
(Update: Website Stays Up)
“Management has a responsibility to negotiate in good faith,” said Ray Rodriguez, chief negotiator for SAG-AFTRA. “We could be making actual progress on the crucial economic, health and safety issues that led to this strike rather than having ‘Top Gun for Hire’ crisis PR advisors setting up misleading websites in an attempt to confuse people.”
“The companies are spending more for a week of service from their PR hired gun than video game voice artists are asking for in secondary compensation on the most successful games in the world,” he added.
SAG-AFTRA demanded that PR rep Singer Associates immediately cease infringing the union’s trademark and desist in its promotion of the website, which provides management views on the work stoppage by voice actors. The union asserts that the site masquerades as a SAG-AFTRA communications platform and cited “the potential for confusion generated around the game companies’ use of SAG-AFTRA trademarks on this website and the absurdity of attempting such disingenuous tactics.”
“This is the crux of our problem with these companies,” Rodriguez said. “They are not seriously addressing critical issues including how human beings are valued in the brutal technology marketplace. Our members want a deal. They want the respect they deserve for the extraordinary contributions they make to these companies’ products and bottom lines. They want serious consideration of their issues, not the indignity of a deceptive website.”
“Our members have a message for the companies and their hired guns: Let’s get serious about getting a deal.”
The new website insists that SAG-AFTRA leaders spurned an offer that was “virtually identical” to the union’s proposal. “SAG-AFTRA has launched a strike against the very Video Game Companies that are the biggest advocates and largest clients of SAG-AFTRA talent in an industry that overwhelmingly uses non-union performers…This is a strike that did not have to happen.”
“SAG-AFTRA never communicated to its membership what was on the table when, on October 19, it declined to counter the Companies’ last proposal and pushed away from the negotiations,” the site said. “Pur offer of a 9% wage increase accelerates the entire payment into the first year – an improvement over the three-year, 3% per year increase that the Union was seeking. It also includes for the first time Additional Compensation for Principal Performers (who work on more than one session on a game).”
More than 100 supporters rallied on Oct. 24 at Electronic Arts in Playa del Rey, Calif., to back the strike. The performers union launched the strike on Oct. 21 against EA and 10 other video game makers after negotiations cratered over the key issues of secondary compensation (residuals) and transparency — meaning that the union wants companies to stop being able to hire without identifying the game.
More than 96% of those voting among the 5,000 “affected” members — those who have worked on the contract — approved a strike authorization last year.
Under the Oct. 21 strike order, SAG-AFTRA members are barred from working for Electronic Arts and 10 other video game companies — Activision Publishing, Blindlight, Corps of Discovery Films, Disney Character Voices, Formosa Interactive, Insomniac Games, Interactive Associates, Take-Two Interactive Software, VoiceWorks Prods. and WB Games.
UPDATE, 8:09 p.m. PDT –– The videogame companies issued a defiant response indicating that they are not going to take down the website.
“SAG-AFTRA seems to suggest that members of the public cannot read. Our website is clear that it is the Videogame Companies’ website.
“Nothing on that website is deceptive. What the Union doesn’t like is that, after the Union abrogated a prior agreement to have a media blackout, the Companies’ posted the proposals that are on the table for the entire world to see.
“Those documents speak for themselves and demonstrate the significant areas of agreement between the parties on safety and other issues and the significant wage increases (of 9%) and other Additional Compensation that has been on the table since days before the strike started.
“For SAG-AFTRA to ask suggest that the Companies have not wanted to bargain, when it was the Union that elected to walk away from mediation last week and strike, instead of letting its members vote on this offer, is what is disingenuous.
Websites like Life have their Ups and Downs! Huh? No, wise guy, I’m keeping this one up as long as I can. Woof! Woof!
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