Voice actors represented by SAG-AFTRA - a US-based media union - have voted overwhelmingly to authorize strike action. Of all eligable members, 98% voted to approve a potential strike, according to a SAG-AFTRA news post.
It's important to note that this does not mean a strike is necessarily going to happen. Authorization means that SAG-AFTRA will be able to call a strike when negotations with various video game companies continue throughout this week and beyond. These companies include some of the industry's biggest: Insomniac, Epic Games, Take Two, Activision, EA, and more.
We recently spoke to just a handful of voice actors - both SAG-represented and not - on why these strikes are important right now. Key issues include protections from AI, lacking pay that doesn't match with inflation rates, and various other workplace protections. As negotations have failed to secure these for voice actors, strikes have become the latest tool in order to secure them for future contracts.
If a strike does happen, this wouldn't be the first time one has hit the video game industry. Back in 2016, striking voice actors hoped to secure residual payments for voice and mocap actors, as well as breaks during stressful recording sessions. This strike ended after 340 days with a deal, lacking residuals but including breaks and sliding scale bonuses that did improve the financial situation for many actors. However, roughly six years later, these hardfought perks are doing little to shelter workers from current economic strife. Not to mention AI, an altogether new issue, that some feel threatens the future of the career.
Its worth noting that this previous voice actor strike had its own strike authorization vote with a roughly 96% approval rating. With 98% of represented actors showing support this time around, it paints a picture of just how serious concerns regarding AI, pay, and workplace safety are to modern-day voice actors. The prior strike had a huge impact on various games, with titles such as Life is Strange famously having issues as a result.
What are your thoughts? Do you think a strike will go ahead following negotations this month? Or, having experienced a voice actor strike in the past, will companies rush to secure a deal? Let us know below!