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SAG-AFTRA voice actors approve video game strike authorization vote

"If these corporations aren't willing to offer a fair deal, our next stop will be the picket lines."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

September 26, 2023

2 Min Read
The SAG-AFTRA logo on a vibrant yellow background

SAG-AFTRA members have approved a strike authorization vote to enable the union to strike against game companies if deemed necessary.

Union members voted 98.32 percent in favor of a strike authorization on the Interactive Media Agreement that covers their work on video games. Overall, 34,687 ballots were cast representing 27.47 percent of eligible voters.

As noted by SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher earlier this month, the 'yes' vote isn't a vote to strike, but rather grants SAG-AFTRA negotiators the authority to call a strike if needed.

SAG-AFTRA is currently attempting to renegotiate the Interactive Media Agreement with major companies like, EA, Activision, Epic Games, and Insomniac in a bid to guarantee union members better protections against exploitative uses of AI, better safety precautions when on set, and higher wages that account for inflation.

"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 Duncan Crabtree-Ireland added that after five rounds of bargaining it has become "abundantly clear" that game companies aren't willing to engage on critical issues.

"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," they added.

Commenting on the news, Audrey Cooling, a spokesperson for the video game producers party to the Interactive Media Agreement, said the ensemble will continue to negotiate in good faith with SAG-AFTRA.

"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," they said. "We have reached tentative agreements on over half of the proposals and are optimistic we can find a resolution at the bargaining table."

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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