SAG-AFTRA calls for video game actors to join picket line

(The Hill) – The actors’ union, which is already striking amid a labor disagreement with Hollywood movie studios, called for a second strike authorization on Friday for video game actors.

“Here we go again! Now our Interactive (Video Game) Agreement is at a stalemate too. Once again we are facing employer greed and disrespect,” SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said in a statement posted on the organization’s website.

The union is seeking similar terms to its Hollywood contract, including higher wages and protections from artificial intelligence technologies that some fear will take jobs away in the industry.

Impact of Hollywood strikes felt outside the entertainment industry

Video game actors in the union mostly consist of those who do motion capture and voice work for the largest video game titles.

“The overlap of these two SAG-AFTRA contracts is no coincidence, but rather a predictable issue impacting our industry as well as others all over the world,” Drescher continued. “The disease of greed is spreading like wildfire ready to burn workers out of their livelihoods and humans out of their usefulness. We at SAG-AFTRA say NO! Not on our watch!”

Demands include an immediate 11% raise with two 4% increases during the contract, medical staff on site for motion capture performers, and protections against artificial intelligence technology.

The SAG-AFTRA video game contract is with the largest publishers in the industry, including EA, Disney, Epic Games — developers of “Fortnite” — and Take Two — parent company to the publishers of the “Grand Theft Auto” series and “2K” sports series, among other titles.

The union’s national board will start a members’ vote this month to officially authorize a strike. That process is expected to finish at the end of September.

The games industry said it is committed to negotiations.

“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,” Audrey Cooling, a representative for industry negotiators, told Axios.

SAG-AFTRA’s Hollywood strike is nearing three months, shutting down Hollywood studios as actors demand better wages, residuals, working conditions and AI protections. It coincides with a strike of the Writers Guild, the first time the two unions have engaged in strikes together since 1960.

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