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Video game voice actors end longest actors’ strike in U.S. history

They wanted better compensation and working conditions.


Tiffanie Drayton

Internet Culture

Published Nov 8, 2017   Updated May 22, 2021, 11:45 am CDT

It has been a year since some of the biggest voice actors in gaming took on their industry and went on strike to demand better compensation and working conditions. That strike finally came to an end today after actors and some of the industry’s biggest companies negotiated a contract which, among other things, offers new protections and increased wages.

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SAG-AFTRA, the organization which represents the majority of actors, announced that terms have finally been settled after reaching compromises with Activision and Electronic Arts back in September. The union reported that the members voted by a margin of 90 percent to 10 percent to ratify the agreement, though the actual numbers were not officially released. This long-awaited agreement puts an end to the longest actor’s strike in U.S. history.

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The biggest win for the actors is the implementation of new “transparency provisions” which strictly outline actor’s job details before they hit the voice-recording booth. This is SAG-AFTRA’s brief explanation of the provisions:

“The deal also contains new transparency provisions that will enhance the bargaining power of our members’ representatives by requiring the companies to disclose the code name of project, its genre, whether the game is based on previously published intellectual property and whether the performer is reprising a prior role. Members are also protected by the disclosure of whether they will be required to use unusual terminology, profanity or racial slurs, whether there will be content of a sexual or violent nature and whether [live-action] stunts will be required.”

Additionally, another feature of the new contract is cash bonuses based on the number of sessions worked. These bonus payments begin with an extra $75 for the first session and can add up to $2,100 after the completion of 10 sessions.

“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.”

EA, Take-Two Interactive, Disney, and Square Enix were among the companies affected by the strike, which means that many voice talents were absent from 2016 games. Ashly Burch of Life is Strange fame, was replaced by another actor for this year’s prequel series Life is Strange: Before the Storm. Voice actors David Hayter (Metal Gear Solid) and Jennifer Hale (Mass Effect) also stood in solidarity with the strike.

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*First Published: Nov 8, 2017, 3:29 pm CST