SAG-AFTRA Sends Strike Authorization Vote to Video Game Workers: Demands Wage Increases & AI Protections

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SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) has taken a significant step by sending a strike authorization vote to its members in the video game industry. The union’s National Board voted unanimously to proceed with the vote, as negotiations with signatory video game companies reached a stalemate.

The Interactive Media Agreement between SAG-AFTRA and video game companies was extended beyond its original expiration date, but the union claims that key issues such as wage increases, rest periods, and artificial intelligence (AI) protections have not been adequately addressed. As a result, SAG-AFTRA has decided to stand up for its members and demand fair treatment.

Fran Drescher, the president of SAG-AFTRA, expressed her concerns over employer greed and the impact of AI on job opportunities. She emphasized the union’s determination to fight against these challenges, 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 union is specifically seeking protective language in the contract that ensures informed consent and appropriate payment for the creation and use of digital replicas, as well as training AI systems using members’ performances. SAG-AFTRA is also demanding wage increases for video game performers that align with those offered to film and television actors: 11 percent retroactive to expiration and 4 percent increases in the second and third years of the agreement.

Moreover, the union is calling for a rest period of five minutes per hour for on-camera performers, the presence of a set medic during stunts or hazardous work, prohibitions against stunts in self-taped auditions, and vocal stress protections.

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To gather support for the strike authorization vote, SAG-AFTRA will be mailing information postcards to voters on September 5. The voting process will conclude on September 25. Additionally, informational meetings for union members will be held on September 7 and September 12.

The video game companies affected by this potential strike include Activision Productions, Blindlight, Disney Character Voices, Electronic Arts Productions, Epic Games, Formosa Interactive, Insomniac Games, Take 2 Productions, VoiceWorks Productions, and WB Games.

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the national executive director and chief negotiator for SAG-AFTRA, stressed the importance of recognizing the value that voice and performance capture artists bring to the multibillion-dollar gaming industry. He highlighted the threat posed by AI technology and the need for contractual protections, stating, Without contractual protections, the employers are asking performers to unknowingly participate in the extinction of their artistry and livelihoods.

As the strike authorization vote commences, both SAG-AFTRA and the video game companies will be closely watching the outcome. The industry awaits a resolution that acknowledges the contributions and concerns of the performers while ensuring the continued growth and success of the gaming sector.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

What is SAG-AFTRA?

SAG-AFTRA stands for the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. It is a labor union that represents performers in the entertainment industry, including actors, voice artists, and other professionals.

Why has SAG-AFTRA sent a strike authorization vote to its members in the video game industry?

SAG-AFTRA has sent the strike authorization vote because negotiations with video game companies have reached a stalemate. The union believes that key issues, such as wage increases, rest periods, and AI protections, have not been adequately addressed.

What are the key issues that SAG-AFTRA is demanding to be addressed?

SAG-AFTRA is seeking protective language in the contract that ensures informed consent and appropriate payment for the creation and use of digital replicas. They also want AI systems trained using members' performances to be compensated. Additionally, the union is demanding wage increases for video game performers that align with those offered to film and television actors.

What other demands does SAG-AFTRA have?

In addition to its demands related to wages and AI, SAG-AFTRA is also calling for a rest period of five minutes per hour for on-camera performers, the presence of a set medic during stunts or hazardous work, prohibitions against stunts in self-taped auditions, and vocal stress protections.

How will SAG-AFTRA gather support for the strike authorization vote?

SAG-AFTRA will be mailing information postcards to voters on September 5 to gather support for the strike authorization vote. They will also be holding informational meetings for union members on September 7 and September 12.

Which video game companies are affected by the potential strike?

The video game companies affected by this potential strike include Activision Productions, Blindlight, Disney Character Voices, Electronic Arts Productions, Epic Games, Formosa Interactive, Insomniac Games, Take 2 Productions, VoiceWorks Productions, and WB Games.

What does Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the national executive director and chief negotiator for SAG-AFTRA, have to say about this situation?

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland emphasized the importance of recognizing the value that voice and performance capture artists bring to the gaming industry. He highlighted the threat posed by AI technology and the need for contractual protections to ensure the preservation of artistry and livelihoods.

What happens next?

The strike authorization vote is currently underway, and both SAG-AFTRA and the video game companies will be closely watching the outcome. The industry is waiting for a resolution that considers the performers' contributions and concerns while supporting the growth and success of the gaming sector.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

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