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SAG-AFTRA members vote to authorise a strike against the video game industry

Update as of 9/29/23:

As of the time of writing, SAG-AFTRA and video game company executives who have been negotiating to create a successor to the Interactive Media Agreement have failed to come to an agreement.

“SAG-AFTRA and video game employers concluded scheduled negotiations for the Interactive Media Agreement,” both parties said in statements shared with Eurogamer. “No deal was reached and the current agreement will remain in effect while the parties make final efforts to reach a deal.”

It’s currently unclear if the parties will try negotiating again, or if SAG-AFTRA will move forward with another strike.

Original article starts here:

SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) members have come together to authorize a video game strike, with 34,687 members casting ballots, and 98.32% of them voting in favour of the strike.

Overall, the 34,687 members who cast ballots represented a voting percentage of 27.47% of eligible voters.

It should be noted that this does not mean that the union is taking strike action — at least, not yet. It does mean, however, that the union does have the confirmation to call for one if they feel that their needs are not being met.

SAG-AFTRA has been in negotiations with video game companies such as Activision Blizzard, EA, WB Games, Insomniac, Take-Two, and Disney since October 2022. What’s become clear thanks to SAG-AFTRA’s announcement post is that these negotiations have not been productive or successful.

This is allegedly due to the video game companies refusing to give “acceptable terms” on issues such as “wages that keep up with inflation, protections around exploitative uses of artificial intelligence, and basic safety precautions.”

“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.”

SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland also stated, “I remain hopeful that we will be able to reach an agreement that meets members’ needs, but our members are done being exploited, and if these corporations aren’t willing to offer a fair deal, our next stop will be the picket lines.”

The next bargaining session between SAG-AFTRA and video game companies will take place today, as well as on September 27 and 28.

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