With SAG-AFTRA members already on strike in opposition to movies and TV exhibits and voting now underway to authorize a separate strike in opposition to the online game business, the guild’s leaders are saying {that a} twin strike, if it involves that, “makes sense” as a result of the problems at stake in each contracts “mirror” one another.

“These are largely the same fight over the same issues, and members are stronger together,” SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher and Nationwide Govt Director Duncan Crabtree-Eire stated of their newest message to the guild’s members. “By standing shoulder to shoulder and in solidarity, we multiply our strength and send a clear and unmistakable message to all of our employers: We will not be exploited. Without fair terms that protect our members and respect their contributions, employers should not have the benefit of our members’ services.”

SAG-AFTRA has been on strike in opposition to movie and scripted TV productions since July 14, and voting to authorize a strike in opposition to 10 main online game corporations signed to the guild’s Interactive Media Settlement (IMA) started Tuesday. The guild’s first and solely strike in opposition to the gaming corporations lasted 183 days in 2016-17.

“Though the issues affecting performers who work in video games mirror those issues affecting TV/Theatrical performers, the Interactive Media Agreement negotiations with the video game companies don’t affect the timing or expected progress of negotiations or our strike on the TV/Theatrical contracts,” Drescher and Crabtree-Eire stated of their message to members. “A strike authorization vote on this agreement will not impact the TV/Theatrical strike.”

Two of the primary sticking factors within the ongoing movie and TV strike – wages and synthetic intelligence – are additionally frequent to the threatened strike in opposition to the gaming corporations. “With Interactive Media Agreement negotiations, the first two sticking points, in particular, should sound familiar,” the guild leaders stated.

With respect to wages, the guild is in search of the identical pay elevate underneath each contracts – 11% within the first yr and 4% within the second and third years. “This is what is necessary for our members’ wages to keep up with inflation,” they stated. “You should not have to take a real dollar pay cut to subsidize the bottom lines of companies making billions in profits by selling your work.”

Final yr, the ten corporations signed to the guild’s online game contract “generated over $19 billion in global revenue, yet these employers are also echoing the position of our film and television employers when it comes to wages,” Drescher and Crabtree-Eire stated. “They believe that the best way to deal with inflation is to make their workers poorer while they increase the price of their product. Under the employers’ wage offer – 5% increase effective upon ratification, another 4% increase in the second year and a 3% increase in the third year – our members will likely be making less in real dollars in 2025, at the conclusion of this contract term, than they were in 2020. This is unacceptable.”

With respect to synthetic intelligence, the guild leaders stated: “Unregulated use of AI poses an equal and even higher risk to performers within the online game business than it does in movie and tv. An excessive amount of our members’ work on this house is voiceover, and the capability to cheaply and simply create convincing digital replicas of performer voices is already right here and broadly out there. You could find the instruments to do it your self with a easy Google search. With out protections, not solely will this be the way forward for how voices are recorded for online game characters, however your individual voice recordings will likely be used to coach the AI programs that substitute you.

“Work under the Interactive Media Agreement also includes a great deal of performance capture, where trained professionals, many of whom are stunt performers, provide digitally captured performances used to give expressive movement to video game characters. This work can also be replicated through AI. Without protective contract language, your face, your expressions and your signature moves can become the basis for an unlimited number of characters across an unlimited number of games without your involvement or even knowledge. What career does that leave for you?”

The guild, they stated, “is fighting for protective language on AI that will require informed consent and appropriate payment for the creation and use of digital replicas and for the use of our members’ performances to train AI systems. These vital protections are not only righteous and fair – after all, who besides you should own your voice and image? – but necessary to counter the existential threat to member work posed by the unregulated use of AI.”

Security is one other key challenge within the online game contract, which guild leaders say “does not provide rest periods for on-camera performers. Our committee is fighting to get our on-camera performers the same five-minutes-per-hour rest period that off-camera performers are entitled to. We need a set medic present when stunts or hazardous work is performed, just like on a film or television set, but that’s not currently provided for in the IMA. Employers should be prohibited from requesting performers to do stunts on self-taped auditions. Right now, the IMA doesn’t address self-taped auditions at all.”

Audrey Cooling, a spokesperson for the online game corporations, stated: “We all want a fair contract that reflects the important contributions of SAG-AFTRA-represented performers in an industry that delivers world-class entertainment to billions of players around the world. We are negotiating in good faith and hope to reach a mutually beneficial deal as soon as possible.”

It’s been practically a yr for the reason that guild started bargaining for a brand new online game contract, throughout which period the 2 sides have held 5 separate multiday bargaining periods.

“Despite these efforts, the companies have failed to address our members’ needs,” Drescher and Crabtree-Eire informed their members. “We have additional bargaining dates set for the end of September, and our negotiating committee and national board unanimously agree that our negotiating committee should have a member-approved strike authorization in hand when bargaining resumes. We urge you to vote ‘Yes’ to authorize a strike should it prove necessary. Given the issues at stake, if we don’t empower ourselves now, there may be no contract left to fight for in the future.”

The guild’s FAQ web page notes that “a no vote tells employers that they do not have to make a fair deal in order to keep our members working. Without the threat of a work stoppage, management has no incentive to offer the wage increases, AI protections and other terms that our members need.”

Voting on the strike authorization, which supplies the guild’s Nationwide Board the authority to declare a strike if bargaining fails to provide a good deal, will finish September 25.