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Sag Aftra Video Games Strike: Every Update Gamers Should Know

Published 09/26/2023, 2:05 PM EDT

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SAG-AFTRA members voted on a strike authorization relating to the Interactive Media Agreement (IMA). It is the body which regulates their participation in the video game industry. This time, the union is authorizing the strike due to unfair practices occurring in video game studios. And some companies accused of unfair behavior have taken the gaming community by surprise.

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SAG-AFTRA is the labor union that represents actors, announcers, broadcasters, and other performers in the entertainment industry. Following the recent strike, the union has its eyes on the gaming industry for its unfair practices. And companies like Activision, and Electronic Arts Productions Inc. among others are under scrutiny.

SAG-AFTRA Video Game Strike Authorization Vote


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SAG-AFTRA members voted on September 25th and 98.32% of participating members approved the strike authorization. And with the approval from such a staggering number of members, the reason for such a high turnout is clear. Around 34,687 members cast their ballots, representing 27.47% of eligible voters from SAG-AFTRA.

The union has been negotiating with many video game companies under the IMA since October 2022. The negotiations hit a snag because the companies didn’t agree to acceptable terms on important issues for union members.


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During the negotiations, one of SAG-AFTRA’s raised issues was the need for employees to receive a wage increase to offset inflation. Another issue raised concerns protecting employees against the exploitative use of AI. And concerns surrounding the basic safety precautions for the performers working in video games were also raised.

Upcoming negotiations

The court has scheduled the next negotiation for September 26, 27, and 28, following the strike authorization vote. Meanwhile, the union anticipates that the successful strike authorization will provide leverage in negotiations. And the expectation is that it will encourage the companies to address critical issues where significant gaps remain.

Fran Drescher, the SAG-AFTRA President, emphasized the urgency of the negotiations. Further, she pointed out the need for video game companies to take them seriously.


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“It’s time for the video game companies to stop playing games and get serious about reaching an agreement on this contract,” she stated. She highlighted the financial success of these companies and the importance of a fair agreement for performers.

On the other hand, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator, expressed hope for a fair agreement. He emphasized that members no longer accept exploitation. He stated, “After five rounds of bargaining, it has become abundantly clear that the video game companies aren’t willing to meaningfully engage on the critical issues: compensation undercut by inflation, unregulated use of AI and safety.”

Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez, drew parallels between the issues faced by video game performers and those in the film and television industry. He emphasized the importance of fair compensation, safety measures, and dignity in their work.


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The SAG-AFTRA Interactive Media Agreement Negotiating Committee and National Board unanimously recommended the initiation of the strike authorization vote. The resounding approval of the strike authorization vote by SAG-AFTRA members signals their determination. They are determined to ensure a fair agreement in video game negotiations.

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Written by:

Viren Mirpuri


One take at a time

Viren is an Esports Writer at EssentiallySports. With a Mass Media degree in one hand and a gaming controller in another, he is set to document every milestone in the gaming industry. As an Esports journalist, he has covered over 500 articles about what is fresh in the scene.
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Edited by:

Rohan Karnad