SAG-AFTRA members have voted overwhelmingly in favor of authorizing a strike on the Interactive Media Agreement (IMA) that covers their work in video games. The vote received a 98.32% approval from the 34,687 ballots cast. However, this does not initiate an immediate strike but rather serves as a statement of discontent with the video game companies involved in the IMA negotiations. The main issues at stake are compensation, AI usage, and safety regulations. SAG-AFTRA hopes that this authorization will strengthen their bargaining position in future negotiations.
The strike authorization in the video game industry mirrors the ongoing strike in the film and television industry. Both cases highlight concerns about compensation and the unregulated use of AI. The SAG-AFTRA Interactive Media Agreement Negotiating Committee and National Board unanimously recommended the strike authorization vote, citing exploitative AI practices and insufficient wages as major issues. The next bargaining session is scheduled for September 26-28, and SAG-AFTRA anticipates that the authorization will provide leverage in their discussions with the studios.
SAG-AFTRA members assert that video game professionals face similar challenges as their counterparts in the film and television industry. Issues such as AI misuse and low wages are prevalent in both sectors. Ray Rodriguez, the chief contracts officer, emphasized the need for fair compensation and safety measures that would allow performers to work with dignity. With the strike authorization in place, SAG-AFTRA aims to secure a better agreement during the upcoming negotiations. The union hopes that this vote will signal the seriousness of their members’ concerns and encourage studio collaboration to address these issues effectively.