A new branch of the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA may be joining the strike lines during what’s become known as “hot labor summer.”
Video game actors — known in union parlance as interactive media — are voting on a potential strike authorization against some of the biggest businesses in the industry, the union said in a Friday statement.
Affected video game companies include Activision, Disney, Electronic Arts (commonly known as EA), Epic, Insomniac and WB Games.
The union’s contract with those businesses expired almost a year ago, though it was temporarily extended for negotiations.
Those talks have not produced a new deal, prompting SAG-AFTRA to “have a member-approved strike authorization in hand when bargaining resumes on Sept. 26,” the statement said.
Similar to the requests of other SAG-AFTRA members and writers, video game workers want better pay and protections against the “unrestrained” use of artificial intelligence.
“Once again we are facing employer greed and disrespect. Once again artificial intelligence is putting our members in jeopardy of reducing their opportunity to work. And once again, SAG-AFTRA is standing up to tyranny on behalf of its members,” said SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher.
The companies, however, are “negotiating in good faith” to “reach a mutually beneficial deal as soon as possible,” Audrey Cooling, a rep for the game industry producers, told Axios.
“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,” Cooling said.