SAG-AFTRA, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, is seeking a second strike, this time against major video game companies, for fair treatment of their performers. While SAG-AFTRA is already in the midst of a strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), negotiations for a new video game contract have reached a stalemate, prompting the union to consider taking further action.
The current contract between SAG-AFTRA and companies like Activision Blizzard and EA was set to expire on November 7, 2022. However, both parties agreed to extend the talks for another year. As of now, negotiations are scheduled to resume on September 26.
SAG-AFTRA is demanding an 11% retroactive increase in rates for video game performers, followed by increases of 4% and 4%. This aligns with the union’s requests to the AMPTP. They are also seeking protection for their members from artificial intelligence (AI), which they believe poses a threat to voice and performance capture artists. Additionally, SAG-AFTRA is advocating for rest periods, safety protections, an on-set medic, and a prohibition against stunts during self-taped auditions.
Fran Drescher, the president of SAG-AFTRA, spoke out against the gaming companies, accusing them of greed and disrespect. She expressed concern about AI jeopardizing job opportunities for their members and vowed to stand up for their rights. In response, a spokesperson for the gaming companies emphasized their desire for a fair contract that acknowledges the contributions of SAG-AFTRA-represented performers in delivering world-class entertainment to billions of players worldwide.
It is worth noting that SAG-AFTRA previously went on strike against the gaming companies in October 2016, which lasted for 11 months.
The ongoing disputes between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP, as well as the video game companies, signify a broader trend of labor movements within the entertainment industry. The Writers Guild of America also initiated a strike against the AMPTP in May, further highlighting the efforts to address the challenges faced by professionals in the streaming and gaming sectors.
As negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the video game companies resume, industry stakeholders will closely observe the outcomes and potential impact on labor practices within the gaming industry. Both parties aim to reach a mutually beneficial agreement, but it remains to be seen how the talks will progress and whether a strike will be unavoidable. Only time will tell how this dispute between SAG-AFTRA and the video game companies will unfold and its implications for the treatment of performers in the industry.