US actors' union members vote to authorise video game strike

user avatar Author: Editors Desk Source: BBC News:
September 26, 2023 at 11:30
Actors in the US have voted in favour of a potential video games strike, raising the prospect of another walkout in Hollywood.

Members of the Sag-Aftra union voted 98% in favour of taking action over the gaming industry agreement that covers voice, motion capture and stunt work.

Actors are already on strike from work for film and TV studios.

Earlier this week, writers reached a tentative deal to end their dispute with studio bosses after five months.

The film and TV stoppages have centred on concerns about pay and the use of artificial intelligence, and actors in video games are facing many of the same issues.

The vote does not guarantee a new strike will occur, but gives the union the power to call one if negotiations fail after they resume on Tuesday.

"It's time for the video game companies to stop playing games and get serious about reaching an agreement on this contract," Sag-Aftra president Fran Drescher said.

"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."

The Sag-Aftra agreement covering video game performers expired in November and has been extended on a monthly basis while the union negotiated with major video game companies including Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Epic Games and Disney Character Voices.

In response, a spokesperson representing the companies said they would "continue to negotiate in good faith" to reach an agreement that "reflects the important contributions" of performers represented in video games.

"We have reached tentative agreements on over half of the proposals and are optimistic we can find a resolution at the bargaining table," they said.

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In recent years, the games industry has seen a growing number of A-list actors and celebrities taking on character roles both in voice and appearance, including Kit Harington, Rami Malek and comedian Conan O'Brien.

Idris Elba, who stars as Solomon Reed in the latest spy-thriller adventure expansion for Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, this week told BBC News it was "a sign of the times" that video games were becoming a growing medium for actors.

"Games and actors have always worked together but we're seeing more notable film actors being moved into gaming," he said.


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