SAG-AFTRA Members Overwhelmingly Support Video Game Strike with 98% Vote.
In an emphatic show of support, the guild declared on Monday that SAG-AFTRA members have voted with an overwhelming majority of 98.32% to authorize a potential strike should negotiations for a new contract with video game companies fail.
It's important to note that this vote does not automatically trigger a strike; instead, it grants the guild's leaders the authority to declare a strike without further approval, bolstering their bargaining position in discussions.
A spokesperson representing the video game companies under the Interactive Media Agreement with the guild expressed, "We remain committed to negotiating in good faith, striving to secure an agreement that duly acknowledges the invaluable contributions of SAG-AFTRA-represented performers in video games. We have progressed on more than half of the proposals and maintain optimism about resolving at the negotiating table."
SAG-AFTRA has been engaged in talks for a fresh contract encompassing voice actors, stunt performers, motion capture artists, and other professionals involved in video game production for nearly a year.
These negotiations have unfolded with five prominent video game companies—Activision, Epic Games, Insomniac, WB Games, and Electronic Arts—as well as video game production entities like Take 2, Formosa Interactive, Blindlight, VoiceWork Productions, and Disney Character Voices.
This development occurs against the backdrop of the ongoing strike by the guild against major Hollywood studios. According to guild leaders, the issues at the core of these disputes closely mirror the challenges actors face in the video game industry. Key shared concerns include the call for higher remuneration to offset inflationary pressures and ensure proper consent and compensation for AI-generated likenesses of performers.
The guild's president, Fran Drescher, emphasized, "It's high time for the video game companies to cease playing games and take earnest steps toward forging an agreement on this contract. The outcome of this vote underscores our membership's recognition of the critical nature of these negotiations. The time has come for these immensely profitable companies, with generously compensated CEOs, to provide our performers with terms that sustain video game careers as a viable profession."
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator, underscored, "Following five rounds of negotiations, it has become abundantly clear that the video game companies are not inclined to genuinely address the pivotal issues: compensation eroded by inflation, unregulated use of AI, and safety concerns. I remain hopeful that we can arrive at an agreement that aligns with the needs of our members, but our members are committed to their refusal to be exploited. If these corporations are unwilling to extend a fair deal, our next destination will be the picket lines."
Ray Rodriguez, SAG-AFTRA’s chief contracts officer, who has been at the forefront of negotiations regarding the video game contract, added, "With the exploitative utilization of AI and stagnant wages, those working in the video game industry grapple with many of the same challenges as their counterparts in film and television. This strike authorization sends a resounding message that we must secure an agreement that justly compensates these immensely skilled performers, implements commonsense safety measures, and enables them to work with dignity. The livelihoods of our members hinge on it."