SAG-AFTRA Members Vote to Strike Against Video Game Giants
Members of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have unanimously voted to authorize a strike against major video game companies, including Activision, Electronic Arts, and Epic Games. The decision comes after almost a year of unsuccessful negotiations regarding the union’s Interactive Media Agreement, which covers video game performers.
The union is demanding better terms for its members, including wage increases and protections against the unrestrained use of artificial intelligence (AI). SAG-AFTRA argues that video game performers should receive the same treatment as their film and television counterparts, including wage increases of 11% retroactive to the agreement’s expiration and 4% increases in the second and third years.
Additionally, SAG-AFTRA is asking for on-camera performers to receive the same breaks as off-camera performers, as well as provisions for a set medic during stunts or hazardous work. The union is concerned about the increasing use of AI in the industry, which could potentially replace performers in the future. SAG-AFTRA wants contractual protections in place to ensure that performers are not unknowingly participating in the extinction of their artistry and livelihoods.
The strike authorization vote gives the SAG-AFTRA National Board the power to declare a strike if the video game companies fail to negotiate fairly. Voting for the strike authorization will take place, and eligible members will receive voting information on September 5. The voting deadline is September 25, and members can attend informational meetings on September 7 and September 12 to learn more about the strike.
SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher voiced her concern about employer greed and disrespect, stating, The disease of greed is spreading like wildfire ready to burn workers out of their livelihoods and humans out of their usefulness. We at SAG-AFTRA say NO! Not on our watch!
The video game industry has seen increasing labor disputes in recent years. SAG-AFTRA’s strike vote follows similar actions taken by the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The union believes that the overlap between their contracts and the issues faced by the industry as a whole highlight the need for fair treatment and protections for workers.
Negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the video game companies will resume on September 26. The outcome of the strike authorization vote will determine whether SAG-AFTRA moves forward with a strike against the video game giants. Both sides will be closely watching the results as they prepare for further negotiations.