SAG-AFTRA’s National Board is seeking permission from its members to strike against several video game makers. The union’s initial contract with major video game companies was extended past its expiration date as negotiations continued, but the companies have failed to meet the union’s needs. SAG-AFTRA is standing up against employer greed and disrespect, and is seeking better wages and protections for its members. While a strike authorization does not mean an immediate strike, it gives the union the ability to declare a strike if negotiations break down. Eligible members will vote on authorizing the strike until September 25.
SAG-AFTRA is seeking an 11% retroactive wage increase for video game performers and a 4% increase in the contract’s second and third years to offset inflation. According to the union, the video game companies are offering a nominal dollar increase but a real dollar pay cut. The negotiators believe that if the proposed terms are accepted, members will be making less in real dollars in 2025 than they did in 2020. The union is also focused on protecting performers against artificial intelligence, particularly in performance capture technology. They believe that without contractual protections, performers are being asked to participate in the extinction of their artistry and livelihoods.
The negotiations involve companies like Activision, Epic Games, and WB Games, which own popular video game series such as “Star Wars: Battlefront,” “Call of Duty,” and “Mortal Kombat.” WB Games is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, which is CNN’s parent company. While progress has been made on some proposals, the union’s main concerns about AI and wages have not been properly addressed. The negotiators emphasize the importance of informed consent and fair compensation for performers in the rapidly evolving video game industry.