Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) members voted overwhelmingly in favor of striking against 10 major video game companies. The ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike against TV and film studios began on July 14.
Deadline reports that the vote for the video game strike was 98.32% in favor. A total of 34,687 members — 27.47% of eligible voters — voted.
“It’s time for the video game companies to stop playing games and get serious about reaching an agreement on this contract,” says SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher. “The result of this vote shows our membership understands the existential nature of these negotiations, and that the time is now for these companies — which are making billions of dollars and paying their CEOs lavishly — to give our performers an agreement that keeps performing in video games as a viable career.”
Despite the Vote, a SAG-AFTRA Strike Against the Video Game Industry Is Not a Certainty
Despite overwhelming support from SAG-AFTRA members for a strike, it may not happen. The vote authorizes the guild's board to call a strike if negotiations fail to reach an agreement.
“After five rounds of bargaining, it has become abundantly clear that the video game companies aren’t willing to meaningfully engage on the critical issues: compensation undercut by inflation, unregulated use of AI and safety,” says SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. “I remain hopeful that we will be able to reach an agreement that meets members’ needs, but our members are done being exploited, and if these corporations aren’t willing to offer a fair deal, our next stop will be the picket lines.”
The original expiration date for SAG-AFTRA's previous video game contract, the Interactive Media Agreement, has passed. There is a lot of overlap between SAG-AFTRA's strike against the film industry and the video game industry, including concerns about fair wages and artificial intelligence. Says Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez:
“Between the exploitative uses of AI and lagging wages, those who work in video games are facing many of the same issues as those who work in film and television. This strike authorization makes an emphatic statement that we must reach an agreement that will fairly compensate these talented performers, provide common-sense safety measures, and allow them to work with dignity. Our members’ livelihoods depend on it.”
Audrey Cooling, a spokesperson representing the video game companies, says, “We all want a fair contract that reflects the important contributions of SAG-AFTRA-represented performers in an industry that delivers world-class entertainment to billions of players around the world. We are negotiating in good faith and hope to reach a mutually beneficial deal as soon as possible.”
These 10 video game companies face a possible strike:
- Activision Productions Inc.,
- Blindlight LLC,
- Disney Character Voices Inc.,
- Electronic Arts Productions Inc.,
- Epic Games, Inc.,
- Formosa Interactive LLC,
- Insomniac Games Inc.,
- Take 2 Productions Inc.,
- VoiceWorks Productions Inc., and
- WB Games Inc.