Actors union votes to authorize video game strike

This would impact gaming companies include Activision, Electronic Arts and Insomniac Games

SAG-AFTRA video game strike

SAG-AFTRA has voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike authorization against the video game industry.

On Monday night, the actors union revealed that of the 34,687 members who cast their ballot (representing 27.47 percent of eligible voters), 98.32 percent voted to allow a strike to proceed. The union first called for a strike authorization vote earlier this month, pushing for a retroactive 11 percent wage increase, protections against the use of AI to replace actors and on-set medics for performance capture.

However, it should be noted that the authorization doesn’t automatically mean that a strike will happen. For now, this is intended to give SAG-AFTRA a bargaining tool as it enters further negotiations with video game companies for a new Interactive Media Agreement. The guild’s first and only strike against the gaming companies lasted 183 days across 2016 and 2017.

As it stands, the 10 gaming companies impacted by the strikes are: 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.

SAG-AFTRA says it’s in been negotiations with these companies since October 2022 but they “have refused to offer acceptable terms on some of the issues most critical to our members.” A representative for the gaming companies told Axios that “we will continue to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement that reflects the important contributions of SAG-AFTRA-represented performers in video games.” Their next bargaining session takes place from September 26th to 28th.

The video game strike authorization comes as SAG-AFTRA continues to push for higher wages and AI protections in film and television. Actors have been on strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) since mid-July. The Writers Guild of America, meanwhile, has reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP, which has led to optimism that the actors union will soon be able to land its own satisfactory deal.