Video game voice actors and motion capture performers have voted to authorise a strike if negotiations on a new labor contract fail, setting the stage for another possible work stoppage in Hollywood.
After voting closed on Monday, the SAG-AFTRA union said 98.32% of those who cast ballots had voted in favor of authorizing a strike.
The union is scheduled to begin contract talks with gaming companies on Tuesday.
SAG-AFTRA is the same union representing film and television actors who went on strike in July, putting Hollywood in the midst of two simultaneous work stoppages for the first time in 63 years.
In May, roughly 11,500 Writers Guild of America members walked off the job. The writers union reached a preliminary labor agreement with major studios on Sunday.
The SAG-AFTRA agreement covering video game performers expired last November and has been extended on a monthly basis as the union negotiated with major video game companies.
The most pressing issues for SAG-AFTRA are higher pay, medical treatment and breaks for motion capture performers, and protection against artificial intelligence (AI).
These worries echo those brought by Hollywood writers and SAG-AFTRA members under a different contract.
“This is at an inflection point for our industry. In particular with AI, because right now there aren’t any protections,” Ashly Burch, “Horizon Zero Dawn” video game voice actor, told Reuters.
“So, there’s every possibility that someone could sign a contract and be signing away the right to their voice or their movement,” Burch added.
SAG-AFTRA is seeking wage increases for video game performers, saying their pay has not kept pace with inflation, and more protections for the motion-capture performers who wear markers or sensors on the skin or a body suit to help game makers create characters’ movements.
The union is asking for “on-camera performers to have the same five minutes per hour rest period that off-camera performers are entitles to,” SAG-AFTRA said in a statement on its website.
The union will be negotiating with large video game companies, including Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Epic Games, Formosa Interactive and others.
“We will continue to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement that reflects the important contributions of SAG-AFTRA-represented performers in video games,” Audrey Cooling said Monday on behalf of the video game companies, following the strike authorization vote results.
“We have reached tentative agreements on over half of the proposals and are optimistic we can find a resolution at the bargaining.”