SAG-AFTRA could soon have a new attack on its hands.
On Monday, union members voted 98.32 percent in favor of a strike permit against the video game industry, with 34,687 members voting and representing a percentage of 27.47 percent of eligible voters. While the results do not guarantee that a work stoppage will occur, it gives union negotiators the opportunity to call a strike during ongoing negotiations on a new Interactive Media Agreement if they deem it necessary.
“It’s time for the video game companies to stop playing games and get serious about reaching an agreement on this contract,” said SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher. “The outcome of this vote shows that our members understand the existential nature of these negotiations, and that now is the time for these companies – who make billions of dollars and pay their CEOs handsomely – to give our artists an agreement that will remain on video to perform. games as a viable career.”
The voting period began on September 5 and ended on Monday, ahead of the resumption of negotiations on Tuesday. “We fear that without substantial influence, the companies will continue to drag their feet in reaching an acceptable deal,” the union said. web page about the vote. “The outcome of the IMA negotiations will determine whether our members who work in interactive media can continue to earn a professional income doing the work they love.”
Negotiations for the new contract — which includes voice, motion capture and stunt work for video games and other performances — have been underway for nearly a year with a group of employers including 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.
With these talks, the union is seeking to significantly improve pay for their artists working under the contract to counter the effects of inflation, regulate the use of AI for video game performances, and implement greater safety measures for both camera and voice performers. “It is not dramatic to say that we are at a crossroads where the sustainability of a career in video games is at stake,” Ben Whitehair, executive vice president of SAG-AFTRA, told members in a recent meeting . informative video.
Ray Rodriguez, SAG-AFTRA’s chief contracts officer, is leading talks for the union, while Kauff McGuire & Margolis managing partner William E. Zuckerman is leading negotiations for management.
“The exploitative use of AI and lagging wages mean those working in video games face many of the same problems as those working in film and television,” said Ray Rodriguez. “This strike permit makes an emphatic statement that we must reach an agreement that will fairly compensate these talented artists, provide common sense safety measures and allow them to work with dignity. The livelihood of our members depends on it.”