SAG-AFTRA Overwhelming Approval for Video Game Industry Strike

Union Members Overwhelmingly Support Video Game Industry Strike Authorization, Signaling Industry-Wide Resolve in Ongoing Contract Dispute

SAG-AFTRA Overwhelming Approval for Video Game Industry Strike

Credit: Google | SAG-AFTRA Overwhelming Approval for Video Game Industry Strike

In a pivotal development, SAG-AFTRA, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, has delivered an overwhelming verdict, with 98.32% of its members voting in favor of authorizing a strike against major players in the video game industry. This resounding vote carries profound implications for the industry, putting the spotlight on key issues that have long been sources of contention.

A staggering 34,687 members exercised their democratic right to cast their ballots, representing an impressive 27.47% of eligible voters. While this vote doesn’t immediately trigger a work stoppage, it empowers union negotiators to leverage the strike option as they continue to grapple with video game companies over the terms of a new Interactive Media Agreement.

The decision to authorize a strike is rooted in pressing concerns. Chief among them is the issue of compensation, which has been eroded by inflation over time. Additionally, the unregulated use of artificial intelligence (AI) in video games and safety measures for performers have emerged as focal points of contention. Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator, expressed frustration, stating, “The video game companies must engage meaningfully on these critical issues. Our members deserve a fair deal, and if these corporations fail to provide one, we are prepared to take action”.

The voting process spanned from September 5 and concluded on Monday, paving the way for the resumption of negotiations on Tuesday. These negotiations have been ongoing since October 2022, encompassing a wide range of performances, from voice acting to motion capture and stunt work in video games.

The prospect of a strike authorization casts a shadow over ten prominent video game companies, among them Activision Productions Inc, Blindlight LLC, Disney Character Voices Inc, Electronic Arts Productions Inc, Formosa Interactive LLC, Insomniac Games Inc, Epic Games, Take 2 Productions Inc, VoiceWorks Productions Inc, and WB Games Inc. Ray Rodriguez, who holds the position of Chief Contracts Officer at SAG-AFTRA, has shed light on the common challenges faced by professionals in the video game sector, as well as the film and television industries. He underscores the imperative for fair compensation and robust safety protocols.

In response to the strike authorization vote, a spokesperson for the Interactive Media Agreement (IMA) expressed optimism about achieving a resolution at the negotiation table. They cited tentative agreements reached on over half of the proposals. Nonetheless, the overwhelming vote underscores the urgency of addressing the concerns of the talented performers who breathe life into video game characters.

This critical juncture arrives at a time when the union is determined to enhance compensation to offset the impact of inflation, impose regulations on AI utilization in gaming performances, and institute comprehensive safety measures for on-camera and voice artists. SAG-AFTRA’s Executive Vice President Ben Whitehair stressed the gravity of the situation, stating, “We stand at a crossroads where the very sustainability of a career in video game performance is at stake.”

The union’s negotiations are spearheaded by Ray Rodriguez, SAG-AFTRA’s Chief Contracts Officer, and William E. Zuckerman, Managing Partner at Kauff McGuire & Margolis, who represent the interests of both union members and management. As the video game industry grapples with the evolving landscape of technology and gameplay, these negotiations hold immense significance for the livelihoods and well-being of the talented individuals who bring gaming experiences to life.

SAG-AFTRA’s overwhelming vote in favor of strike authorization amplifies the pressing need for equitable compensation, AI oversight, and enhanced safety measures in the video game industry. As negotiations press forward, the eyes of the gaming world remain fixed on this pivotal moment, which could reshape the future of gaming and its performers.


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