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Potential SAG-AFTRA Video Game Strike

Back in 2016, SAG-AFTRA went on strike over failed negotiations with 11 American video game developers and publishers. That strike lasted almost a year before an agreement was reached on a new contract. At the time, it was the longest strike, 340 days, in SAG history.

SAG-AFTRA's interactive media contract has since expired and negotiations have unfortunately broken down again.

A new Interactive Media contract needs to be agreed upon between SAG & the top video game companies in the US. With the backdrop of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, now in its 4th month, and SAG’s ongoing labor dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) SAG is calling for a 'vote' on Strike Action against these videogame studios.

Video Game Companies Involved

Most of these are the same companies that were involved in the previous Interactive Media Agreement. It’s no doubt you have heard of most of these video game companies:

Activision Blizzard Productions, Electronic Arts Productions, Epic Games, Take 2 Productions (Rockstar & 2k are 2 of their divisions), Insomniac Games, Blindlight, Disney Character Voices, Formosa Interactive, VoiceWorks Productions and WB Games.

Timeline so far

· Voting on the strike authorization opened Sept. 5 and will close at 5 p.m. PT on Monday, Sept. 25, 2023.

· If 75% or more of eligible members casting ballots vote YES, (although they prefer as close to a 100% YES vote as possible) a “strike authorization” passes and gives the National Board the authority to call a strike.

· They can “call a strike” any time after September 26, 2023, however, a bargaining session is scheduled for September 26, 27 and 28. .

3 Key Areas of Negotiations

Artificial Intelligence: fighting for protective language on AI that will require informed consent and appropriate payment for the creation and use of digital replicas and for the use of their members’ performances to train AI systems.

Safety: mandatory rest breaks (same five-minutes-per-hour rest period as off-camera performers) and vocal stress protection and on-set medics during stunts or other hazardous work.

Wage Increases: 11% retroactive wage increase & 4% increases in the second and third years of the contract

Equity UK, the UK actors union has shown solidarity with the current strike and will no doubt continue if video games are added to it, which seems likely. Whether you are a Union, Non-Union, SAG-E, or Fi-Core Actor or a even a consumer of games, it is important to stand together #SAGStrong.

For more information check the SAG website for their interactive contract page and any further updates.

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Ian Russell

Ian Russell is a British Voiceover Artist specializing in commercial voice over, narration, video game, character voices, animation and more. He is a frequent guest speaker on conference panels and podcasts, sharing knowledge about voice over. Read More >>


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