SAG-AFTRA Labor Union Members to Vote on Possible Strike Against Video Game Companies – News

10 companies face possible strike including Activision, EA, Epic Games, Insomniac

Entertainment news website Deadline reported on Friday that The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) labor union’s national board has voted unanimously to send a strike authorization vote to members that will begin on September 5 and end on September 25. While a successful vote does not initiate a strike, it permits the board to declare a strike if ongoing negotiations are not successful.

The union has upcoming bargaining dates with: Activision Productions Inc.; Blindlight LLC; Disney Character Voices Inc.; Electronic Arts Productions Inc.; Epic Games, Inc.; Formosa Interactive LLC; Insomniac Games Inc.; Take 2 Productions Inc.; VoiceWorks Productions Inc.; and WB Games Inc. The union is asking the companies for better working conditions and for an 11% increase in rates paid to video game performers, as well as protections from artificial intelligence posing a threat to the future of artists’ work and careers.

SAG-AFTRA’s last strike against major gaming companies began in 2016 and lasted 183 days.

The union’s current strike against film and scripted television productions began on July 14. According to the BBC, the strike has caused major worldwide disruptions to film and television productions

SAG-AFTRA represents over 160,000 performers—including voice actors—and negotiates contracts with studios to guarantee consistent pay, working conditions, contributions toward health insurance and a pension, and preferential casting for union members. SAG-AFTRA issued a “Do Not Work” notice in regards to Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai English dub (listed as “Dragon Quest: Legend of Dai”) in April 2022. In the wake of the CrunchyrollFunimation merger, anime dub actors have highlighted the historical and ongoing under-representation of union dubs in the North American anime dubbing industry.

A separate strike from the Writers Guild of America started on May 2. In this strike, writers are demanding improved pay and working conditions, and limitations on the industry’s use of AI.

Sources: Deadline (David Robb), BBC (Nadine Yousif)

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