SAG-AFTRA’s National Board voted unanimously to submit a vote for strike authorization to its members.
This move comes as part of the union’s preparations for upcoming negotiation sessions with video game companies that are signatories to their agreements.
“Here we go again! Now our Interactive (Video Game) Agreement is at a stalemate too,” SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher said in a statement. “Once again we are facing employer greed and disrespect. Once again artificial intelligence is putting our members in jeopardy of reducing their opportunity to work. And once again, SAG-AFTRA is standing up to tyranny on behalf of its members.”
She added: “The overlap of these two SAG-AFTRA contracts is no coincidence, but rather a predictable issue impacting our industry as well as others all over the world. 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!”
SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland added: “The voice and performance capture artists who bring video game characters to life deserve a contract that reflects the value they bring to the multibillion-dollar gaming industry. Voice and performance capture AI are already among the most advanced uses of AI: The threat is here and it is real. Without contractual protections, the employers are asking performers to unknowingly participate in the extinction of their artistry and livelihoods.”
The guild last struck against the video game companies back in 2016 which lasted 183 days. Talks with the guild and video game companies resumes on Sept. 26.
Along with AI protections, the guild is seeking similar wage increases for video game performers as for those who work under the film and television contracts: 11% retroactive to expiration and 4% increases in the second and third years of the agreement.
The signatory video game companies include:
- 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.
Voting information postcards will be mailed to eligible voters on Tuesday, Sept. 5, at 5 p.m. PT and will close on Monday, Sept. 25.
SAG-AFTRA went on strike on July 14 against the major studios and streamers, shutting down productions worldwide.
For all of TheWrap’s strike coverage, click here.