It’s official. SAG/AFTRA has announced that video game voice actors have authorized a strike with a landslide 96.5% in favor from those voting. The Union’s website had this to say:
“We are pleased to report that the Interactive Media Agreement Strike Authorization Referendum was a resounding success with 96.52% of members voting in favor of the referendum. Voting on the referendum closed yesterday, Tuesday, Oct. 6, and ballots were tabulated by Integrity Voting Systems.” More found HERE.
The Interactive Media Agreement in question expired on December 31, 2014. As reported before, SAG/AFTRA has made several attempts at negotiations that would bring the antiquated 1990’s born Interactive Media Agreement, which presides over the ever changing digital media, up to par with the majority of other SAG/AFTRA agreements.
The Union’s site goes on to remind the public that, “It is important to note that the referendum result does not mean that members are on strike, rather, it gives the National Board the authority to declare a strike…” That being said, this gives SAG/AFTRA the option of declaring a strike should they feel a fair resolution has not been met, which is very powerful when returning to a bargaining table. SAG/AFTRA along with many voice actors have made strong statements on the matter, many utilizing the hashtags #PerformanceMatters and #IamOnBoard2015 to campaign for what they are calling ‘fair treatment.’ We are unaware of any word or statement being released from any of the multi-billion dollar companies who are on the opposite side of this issue.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If I can jump in here for a second, I think we’re likely to see a strike. There’s a chance the bigger companies will come back to the negotiating table in good faith, but it seems more likely that we’re going to run into a major growing pain of video games as an industry. They’ve been treated like a tech industry, not an entertainment one, for so long that the companies aren’t going to want to pay for even these basic things that the actors need. The question is – will this delay any of the major releases coming soon? Probably not – most things like Battlefront already have all of their dialogue recorded. But it might throw a wrench into the plans of some of the major games you’re looking forward to in a few years, like Mass Effect Andromeda. We’ll have to wait and see – hopefully, the big players will see reason and give the actors some safety considerations.