SAG-AFTRA members voted almost unanimously in favor of strike authorization.
A hand holding up a controller in triumph or a sign of power.

On September 25, members of SAG-AFTRA voted to approve strike authorization for video game performers. The authorization was approved with 98.32% voting in favor of strike approval. In total, 34,687 members cast ballots, though this represents just 27.47% of all eligible voters.

Voting to approve a strike does not necessarily mean there is a strike. It simply opens the door wide open for video game voice actors and motion capture performance to go on strike should upcoming contract negotiations reach a stalemate. This approval is also only covers the performers that fall under SAG-AFTRA's Interactive Media Agreement.

As it stands right now, several game publishers and studios are in negotiations with SAG-AFTRA. These studios include, but are not limited to: Activision Blizzard, Epic Games, Insomniac Games, Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive, and WB Games. These negotiations have been going on since October 2022. According to SAG-AFTRA, "the companies have refused to offer acceptable terms on some of the issues most critical to our members." These issues include basic safety precautions, fair wages that "that keep up with inflation," and "protections around exploitative uses of artificial intelligence."

“It’s time for the video game companies to stop playing games and get serious about reaching an agreement on this contract,” said SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher. “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.”

“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,” said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. “I remain hopeful that we will be able to reach an agreement that meets members’ needs, but our members are done being exploited, and if these corporations aren’t willing to offer a fair deal, our next stop will be the picket lines.”

“Between the exploitative uses of AI and lagging wages, those who work in video games are facing many of the same issues as those who work in film and television,” said Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez. “This strike authorization makes an emphatic statement that we must reach an agreement that will fairly compensate these talented performers, provide common-sense safety measures, and allow them to work with dignity. Our members’ livelihoods depend on it.”​
The next bargaining session is scheduled for September 26-28. SAG-AFTRA says they "hope the added leverage of a successful strike authorization vote will compel the companies to make significant movement on critical issues."