AFTRA has ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with producers of video games that use actors to provide voices. Previously, SAG members in the same sector defeated the proposed deal.
While SAG and AFTRA bargained separately to reach the deal the terms in both contracts were similar. A majority of SAG members voting opposed the terms, particularly a provision that allows gaming companies to engage actors to do far more voices for the same pay. This was viewed a major give back by the deal’s opponents.
While both SAG and AFTRA leaders argued the deal would bring more gaming work to unionized actors, it appears that the hardline minority in SAG led by Membership First was able to mobilize opposition, arguing as they have over the years that AFTRA is more interested in growing union membership at the cost of weaker pay and conditions.
As the first contract to be voted on since the moderate group captured the SAG presidency the division in the outcomes illustrates the continuing importance of the MF faction in SAG. It will likely complicate plans by the moderates to move forward with their major election campaign promise, a merger with AFTRA. The SAG vote is the first defeat for SAG NED David White since he joined the Guild’s staff a year ago.
While AFTRA reported that the deal passed 2 to 1 in a mail ballot, they did not report the number of votes cast. SAG held meetings at union halls for an in person vote in San Francisco, Chicago LA and NY. 115 people voted with 73 voting no and 42 voting yes. All 73 NO votes were cast in LA, a stronghold for Membership First.