SAG-AFTRA Members Approve Video Game Strike
SAG-AFTRA, a union that represents more than 165,000 American film and television workers, recently voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike against 11 video game companies. The members voted at a special two-day meeting in Los Angeles on October 21 and 22.
The vote brings the organization closer to the first strike in its history with video game companies. The union has been bargaining for weeks with 11 major video game companies, whose games include popular franchises ranging from World of Warcraft to Call of Duty, over several issues, including better compensation for voice actors.
The union and video game companies are understood to be at an impasse, with both sides unable to agree on a host of issues. Specifically, SAG-AFTRA has raised issues such as for regulating and disclosing the type of work that is expected of voice actors, additional pay incentives and steps to protect actors from what it says are vocal stress and exhausting hours.
The union says that video game makers have repeatedly blocked attempts to end discussions and reach a fair deal. The issue of pay incentives for video game work has been an especially hard-fought battle. This recently approved strike authorization is a powerful signal that this issue needs to be addressed or else the union is prepared to walk away from negotiations.
With today’s vote, union members have authorized their leadership and negotiators to call a strike against the 11 companies if an acceptable resolution to negotiations cannot be reached.
It remains to be seen whether the union and the video game makers can come to an agreement in time to avert the strike, or if the union’s negotiating team will call a work stoppage. All eyes are on the upcoming meeting scheduled for December 1, when SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris is expected to meet with the top executives of the video game companies.