Over the past few years, discussion of unionization within the context of the video games industry has become a pressing matter to provide a livable wage for actors & developers. With the ongoing Microsoft deal aiming its crosshairs at Activision Blizzard, the firm has illustrated itself to be a pioneer for the biggest contributor to unionization if the acquisition passes.
Additionally, other Xbox-owned firms also bypassed the push back to unionization. Previously, ZeniMax Studios was met with a supermajority vote passing in favor to unionize. Even more, Sega of America also met the same outcome as well more recently as its staff also went of favor to form a union as well. Now, a blanket strike could be on the way after SAG-AFTRA’s latest vote.
In that, the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) was met with a 98 percent vote in favor to strike the video game industry. As many are familiar, the Writers Guild of America West (WGA) just withheld one of its biggest battles with Hollywood which just ended this week; counting over 140 days.
It’s time for the video game companies to stop playing games and get serious about reaching an agreement on this contract. The result of this vote shows our membership understands the existential nature of these negotiations, and that the time is now for these companies — which are making billions of dollars and paying their CEOs lavishly — to give our performers an agreement that keeps performing in video games as a viable career.Fran Drescher, SAG-AFTRA President
‘The strike authorization does not mean the union is calling a strike. SAG-AFTRA has been in Interactive Media Agreement negotiations with signatory video game companies (Activision Productions Inc, Blindlight LLC, Disney Character Voices Inc., Electronic Arts Productions Inc., Formosa Interactive LLC, Insomniac Games Inc., Epic Games, Take 2 Productions Inc., VoiceWorks Productions Inc., and WB Games Inc.) since October 2022,” the press release reads.
“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.”
What do you think the outcome will be for SAG-AFTRA’s new strike on the video game industry?