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SAG-AFTRA is calling on members to vote on whether or not the union should be given authority to declare a strike for video game actors and performers.
In addition to its strike against TV and film production companies, the union is currently negotiating the terms of its Interactive Media Agreement with a number of video games publishers, developers and service firms.
The union is calling for wage increases and protection against the unrestrained use of artifical intelligence, among other things.
If members vote to authorise the strike, it does not necessarily mean that strike action will take place. Instead, as SAG-AFTRA explains on its website, it gives the union the option to initiate a strike if negotiations with video games companies fails to produce a deal that satisfies its members.
SAG-AFTRA is currently preparing to bargain with ten companies that handle voice, motion and performance capture in video games:
- Activision Productions
- Disney Character Voices
- Electronic Arts Productions
- Epic Games
- Formosa Interactive
- Insomniac Games
- Take 2 Productions
- VoiceWorks Productions
- WB Games
Audrey Cooling, a spokesperosn for the video game producers that are party to the Interactive Media Agreement told GamesIndustry.biz: "We all want a fair contract that reflects the important contributions of SAG-AFTRA-represented performers in an industry that delivers world-class entertainment to billions of players around the world. We are negotiating in good faith and hope to reach a mutually beneficial deal as soon as possible."
The union is asking these companies to agree to the following:
- The same wage increases for video game performers as those in TV and film: 11% retroactive to the deal's expiration, and 4% in both the second and third years of the agreement. The union argues these are necessary to account for inflation
- Artificial intelligence protections around consent, control, transparency and compensation
- On-camera performers to be given rest periods of five minutes per hour, the same as off-camera performers
- Set medics to be present where any stunts or hazardous work is performed, as is the case with TV and film
- Prohibitions against stunts on performers' self-taped auditions
- Protections against vocal stress
While many of these are similar issues to those discussed in the ongoing strike against TV and film production, SAG-AFTRA emphasised the Interactive Media Agreement is a separate contract and will not have any impact on the other strike.
Voting for eligible members will close at 5pm PT on September 25. The vote was unanimously approved by SAG-AFTRA's national board.