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Video game industry could soon be hit by actors' strike

Members of Hollywood's actors union have authorized a strike against the video game industry as contract negotiatons continue.
Video game industry could soon be hit by actors' strike
Posted at 8:01 PM, Sep 26, 2023

SAG-AFTRA may add another strike to its plate.

Members of the union representing Hollywood actors have voted 98.32% in favor of authorizing a strike against 10 major video game companies, including Activision, Disney Character Voices, Insomniac and more.

The voting period for the strike authorization began Sept. 5 and ended Monday, with 34,687 members casting ballots to represent 27.47% of eligible voters.

SAG-AFTRA has been negotiating the Interactive Media Agreement covering video game work since it expired in Oct. 2022, but the union said the gaming employers "have refused to offer acceptable terms" for a new contract on members' demands, including salary wages, protection from AI exploitation and basic safety precautions.

Although the authorization doesn't guarantee a strike will occur, the move allows SAG-AFTRA to call one if the next round of negotiations — scheduled for Sept. 26, 27 and 28 — still fails to end in agreement, which it has done the previous five rounds.

SEE MORE: SAG-AFTRA is ready to go back to the table

"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 result of this vote shows our membership understands the existential nature of these negotiations, and that the time is now for these companies — which are making billions of dollars and paying their CEOs lavishly — to give our performers an agreement that keeps performing in video games as a viable career."

In response to the vote, a spokesperson for the Interactive Media Agreement told the Hollywood Reporter, "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. We have reached tentative agreements on over half of the proposals and are optimistic we can find a resolution at the bargaining table."

Union members' last strike against the gaming industry took place in 2106 and lasted nearly a year.

SAG-AFTRA is in its second month of striking against major Hollywood studios, asking for similar demands from the Alliance of Motion Picture as they are from gaming companies. Negotiations are expected to make more progress soon, though, as the striking writers union has just struck a deal.

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