SAG-AFTRA graphic representing their Interactive Media (Video Game) contract. It is a yellow circle over a purple and black rectangular background. In the yellow circle is an illustration of a fist clutching a game controller.

SAG-AFTRA Members Authorize Video Game Strike, Giving Studios a Few Days To Bargain Fairly

SAG-AFTRA, the screen actors’ union, has authorized a video game strike! Now, they’ve already been on strike for 75 days as of today, so how was there another vote on a strike authorization recently that was overwhelmingly approved yesterday?

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Right now, SAG-AFTRA members are on strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), because their three-year TV/Theatrical/Streaming contract, covering actors in film and television, has ended and the union is fighting for a better deal on that contract.

However, SAG-AFTRA also represents actors in video games, under a separate Interactive Media contract with a bargaining group (basically the video game industry’s AMPTP) consisting of the following signatory video game companies:

  • 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.
  • WB Games Inc. 

SAG-AFTRA has been trying to negotiate a new Interactive Media contract since October of last year, extending the current contract over and over in an attempt to give the video game companies the opportunity to deal with them fairly. However, according to the strike authorization statement on the SAG-AFTRA website:

“Throughout the negotiations, the companies have refused to offer acceptable terms on some of the issues most critical to our members, including wages that keep up with inflation, protections around exploitative uses of artificial intelligence, and basic safety precautions. The next bargaining session is scheduled for Sept. 26, 27 and 28, and we hope the added leverage of a successful strike authorization vote will compel the companies to make significant movement on critical issues where we are still far apart.”

So, with a vote of 98.32% in favor (of 34,687 cast ballots), SAG-AFTRA’s membership voted to authorize a strike against the video game industry should the need arise.

And that’s the important thing to remember. A strike authorization vote does not mean the members are now on strike in this area. As of right now, SAG-AFTRA members can still work in video games. But if the signatory gaming companies continue to withhold fair wages and meaningful protections from their actors, the union now has permission from its membership to call a strike.

It remains to be seen whether the video game industry will be more reasonable than the AMPTP has been so far with film and TV actors in the next few days. But considering that Disney and Warner Bros. are involved in both, and even companies like Electronic Arts, which are primarily gaming companies, seem to be using the AMPTP negotiating playbook, it wouldn’t be a surprise if we see an influx of new actors joining the ones already on the picket lines in the near future.

If you want to keep up with how the video games you love will be affected, check out SAG-AFTRA’s page devoted to the Interactive Media negotiations.

(featured image: SAG-AFTRA)


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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.