SAG-AFTRA Strikes Eleven Video Game Companies

On October 24, more than 350 picketers turned out for a rally and picket line at EA offices in Playa Vista, Calif. in response to failed negotiations with video gaming companies that union officials say have been unwilling to meet even close to where the needs of its members are. The strike involves the following video game employers: Activision Publishing, Inc.; Blindlight, LLC; Corps of Discovery Films; Disney Character Voices, Inc.; Electronic Arts Productions, Inc.; Formosa Interactive, LLC; Insomniac Games, Inc.; Interactive Associates, Inc.; Take 2 Interactive Software; VoiceWorks Productions, Inc.; and WB Games, Inc. The strike applies to games that went into production after February 17, 2015, for the aforementioned employers. In a statement issued in early October by the union, SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said, “Through many months of bargaining with interactive employers, we have not reached a fair agreement covering SAG-AFTRA performers working in video games – often the most popular games in the world. Our members have been clear, now is the time for employers to negotiate a modern contract that covers this highly profitable industry. “A strike is not to be entered into lightly, but when the employers leave us with no recourse, we must stand firm for our members. It is imperative that we secure for them the protections, compensation and benefits they deserve,” Carteris added. The Union’s Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez noted that members working in the video game industry were negotiating to reach a fair contract, but that progress had essentially been stalled for more than a year. “We need a contract that fits the needs of our members working...

Workers’ Compensation Law Rollbacks Have Created a Crisis Across the U.S.

“A critical part of the safety net is being both attacked and eroded in no small measure because there are no federal minimum standards for workers’ compensation” — DOL Secretary Tom Perez A recent U.S. Department of Labor report lays out in gory detail the problems with workers’ compensation programs in the U.S., noting that those hurt on the job are at “great risk of falling into poverty” because state workers’ compensation systems are failing to provide them with adequate benefits. Unfortunately, the DOL has no oversight of workers’ compensation programs and has not monitored state compliance since 2004 because of cutbacks. According to the report, more than 30 states have changed their workers’ compensation laws since 2003, favoring employers far more than workers. In most instances, states have decreased benefits to injured workers, created hurdles to medical care, raised the burden of proof to qualify for help and shifted costs to public programs, such as Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. Employers are reaping the rewards—the cost of insurance has decreased dramatically and insurance companies are paying their overages back to corporations in the form of dividends. Since 1988, the average cost to employer has declined from $3.42 for every $100 paid in wages to $1.85 per $100. “With this report, we’re sounding an alarm bell,” Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said in an interview with ProPublica, which had published a series of articles with NPR on the issue over the past year and a half (https://www.propublica.org/series/workers-compensation). The Grand Bargain Workers’ compensation was created more than 100 years ago. It was a response to challenging and horrific...
Walk in my shoes –School Bus Driver Renita Smith, AFSCME Local 2250

Walk in my shoes –School Bus Driver Renita Smith, AFSCME Local 2250

Renita Smith, a school bus driver in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and a member of ACE-AFSCME Local 2250, was honored recently by students and school system officials as a hero after she saved 20 children when her bus caught fire September 12. Smith, a 17-year veteran driver in Prince George’s County, acted quickly when she smelled smoke and then saw flames while driving her daily route in the suburban Maryland neighborhood. When asked about the ordeal, Smith said that she realized that calling in to her supervisor wasn’t going to help solve the crisis, so she put the radio down and “got my babies up and in a straight line in aisle. I had them hold hands.” Smith then led all 20 children off the bus and to safety, far away from the smoke and flames. Then, without hesitation, Smith went back onto the bus to make sure no child had been left behind. “There wasn’t a bus attendant with me that day to do the count,” said Smith. “So I knew I had to go back on the bus to make sure I got all my babies.” Smith says she was just doing her job. But Prince George’s County School CEO Kevin Maxwell said, “To get off that bus and to go back again to make sure that everybody was safely off the bus is heroic.” Students that were on the bus that day agreed, calling Smith “our hero,” during an assembly held in her honor. But Smith brushed off the praise. “As I’m driving that bus, they’re my babies,” she said. “I’m their mom until I drop...
Spotlight the Label — IAFF

Spotlight the Label — IAFF

The IAFF is the driving force behind nearly every advance in the fire and emergency services in the 21st century. With headquarters in Washington, DC, and Ottawa, Ontario, the IAFF represents more than 300,000 full-time professional fire fighters and paramedics in more than 3,100 affiliates. IAFF members protect more than 85 percent of the population in communities throughout the United States and Canada. The IAFF is governed by an executive board that is chaired by General President, Harold Shaitberger, and consists of the General Secretary-Treasurer and 16 District Vice Presidents. The board is responsible for all policy decisions and is influential in providing beneficial services to members of the International....

Pin It on Pinterest