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"Despite many multi-day bargaining sessions, the companies are refusing to meet our members' needs in vital areas."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

September 18, 2023

2 Min Read
A raised fist holding a gamepad

SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher has called on union members to support a strike authorization vote so its negotiators will have more leverage when dealing with game companies.

The union, which represents a number of voice actors and performers in the game industry, wants members to bring the threat of strike action into play as it attempts to renegotiate the terms of its Interactive Media Agreement.

SAG-AFTRA initially struck the agreement with signatories including Activision, EA, Epic Games, WB Games, Insomniac Games and others to guarantee performers certain rights and protections. It now feels the agreement needs updating, however, and has been trying to renegotiate terms to better reflect the "value [performers] bring to the multi-billion dollar gaming industry" by securing wage increases and better AI protections.

Those talks have apparently reached an impasse, prompting SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher to implore members to back the strike authorization vote and give the organization more leverage.

"Right now is the time to show our solidarity with video game performers. It's been nearly a year since SAG-AFTRA began negotiating the interactive media agreement with video game companies. Despite many multi-day bargaining sessions, the companies are refusing to meet our members' needs in vital areas," said Drescher in a video posted on X.

"Video game performers need wage increases to keep up with inflation. Unregulated use of artificial intelligence in voice and performance capture is already advanced and poses a very real threat to all professional performers. Without protections, a person's recording will be used to train the AI systems that could replace acting jobs. That's why we need your help right now. Vote 'yes' on video game strike authorization."

Drescher reiterated that a 'yes' vote isn't a vote to strike, but rather a vote to provide SAG-AFTRA negotiators with the authority to call a strike if needed. "Empower our team with maximum leverage so they can negotiate a contract that ensures actors have a sustainable career," they added. "This is not just our fight. It's everyone's fight. And it's a fight we have to win."

SAG-AFTRA union members have until September 25 to decide whether to vote in favor of strike authorization.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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