AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization

Kotaku has an open letter to game developers with some perspective on the game industry from the AFL-CIO, America's largest labor organization (thanks Neutronbeam). Written by secretary-treasurer Liz Shuler, this is their first major public statement about organizing game developers. This recognizes the long hours and limited compensation that is the lot of a developer, and make the case for unionization. Here's a bit:
We’ve heard the painful stories of those willing to come forward, including one developer who visited the emergency room three times before taking off from work. Developers at Rockstar Games recently shared stories of crunch time that lasted for months and even years in order to satisfy outrageous demands from management, delivering a game that banked their bosses $725 million in its first three days.

This is a moment for change. It won’t come from CEOs. It won’t come from corporate boards. And, it won’t come from any one person.

Change will happen when you gain leverage by joining together in a strong union. And, it will happen when you use your collective voice to bargain for a fair share of the wealth you create every day.

No matter where you work, bosses will only offer fair treatment when you stand together and demand it. Fortunately, the groundwork is already being laid as grassroots groups like Game Workers Unite embrace the power of solidarity and prove that you don’t have to accept a broken, twisted status quo.

You have the power to demand a stake in your industry and a say in your economic future. What’s more, you have millions of brothers and sisters across the country standing with you.

Your fight is our fight, and we look forward to welcoming you into our union family. Whether we’re mainlining caffeine in Santa Monica, clearing tables in Chicago or mining coal in West Virginia, we deserve to collect nothing less than the full value of our work.
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Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization
Feb 16, 2019, 15:15
16.
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization Feb 16, 2019, 15:15
Feb 16, 2019, 15:15
 
Jivaro wrote on Feb 16, 2019, 14:43:
I know that stories that begin with "a buddy of mine" are always the most informed.
That's #1 on the list for informed news and information.
#2 is Youtube and your Fakebook feed rolls in at #3. smh

“The time has come for us to move beyond seeing public health as the ax in the display case, where the sign says IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, BREAK GLASS.”
Pandemics don’t end because the economy is suffering and we want them to.
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15.
 
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization
Feb 16, 2019, 14:43
Jivaro
 
15.
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization Feb 16, 2019, 14:43
Feb 16, 2019, 14:43
 Jivaro
 
I know that stories that begin with "a buddy of mine" are always the most informed.

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14.
 
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization
Feb 16, 2019, 12:02
14.
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization Feb 16, 2019, 12:02
Feb 16, 2019, 12:02
 
ledhead1969 wrote on Feb 16, 2019, 03:09:
My buddy used to be a union rep at a Chrysler plant. I asked him what he did all day and his answer was "I try to find out ways to rip the company off". Let's set aside people sleeping on the job and getting paid 150K a year to rivet cars...his job was to find out all the ways to rip the company off.

The plant closed down and thousands lost their job. I asked him if it was worth it. All the union BS if the end result would be all those people losing their livelihood. His answer was 'No'.

Only low intellect do-nothings think a union benefits them.

Union participation was 30% in the 1960s in the US. Starting in the 1970s, corporations made a concerted effort to reduce union participation. Today, a mere 10% of workers are in unions. Over this same time period, average wages have stagnated relative to inflation, having raised a mere one percent despite worker productivity having doubled. Meanwhile, wages for the top 1% have gone up 300% over the same period.

If not unions, what is a way to address this disparity? It's quite apparent that the economic elites have sucked up all the productivity gains for themselves.
"The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." Isaac Asimov
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13.
 
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization
Feb 16, 2019, 11:06
Beamer
 
13.
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization Feb 16, 2019, 11:06
Feb 16, 2019, 11:06
 Beamer
 
The AFL-CIO was pretty notoriously terrible in the 70s and 80s. That's a pretty dated opinion these days, though. Plus, I'd wager a good chunk of those stories we kept hearing was propaganda by the automotive companies to try to keep wages lower.

Unions can be bad, when they're too powerful. Some people cited public unions here, which tend to be powerful. But c'mon, we all know how damn powerful our corporations are.

So powerful that people think the employees joining forces to negotiate together, instead of individually, is a bad idea. So many still think the CEO and shareholders should be the only ones making money...
12.
 
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization
Feb 16, 2019, 10:56
12.
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization Feb 16, 2019, 10:56
Feb 16, 2019, 10:56
 
ledhead1969 wrote on Feb 16, 2019, 03:09:
My buddy used to be a union rep at a Chrysler plant. I asked him what he did all day and his answer was "I try to find out ways to rip the company off". Let's set aside people sleeping on the job and getting paid 150K a year to rivet cars...his job was to find out all the ways to rip the company off.

The plant closed down and thousands lost their job. I asked him if it was worth it. All the union BS if the end result would be all those people losing their livelihood. His answer was 'No'.

Only low intellect do-nothings think a union benefits them.

So it is ok to have the CEO, CFO, board of directors to rip the company off but not the workers??

I don't mind an union can ruin companies like EA or Blizzard/Activision...
“I am not a Mac user unless under duress.” - John Carmack
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11.
 
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization
Feb 16, 2019, 08:49
11.
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization Feb 16, 2019, 08:49
Feb 16, 2019, 08:49
 
Done enough union jobs to know they have limited benefit. The top of the list is the teachers union, one of the big reasons our education system is in the dumps. One that sticks out was a grocery union, they stuck it to the low payed workers so older workers would keep their benefits. Yet we all payed the same ridiculous dues that made the job untenable. Another ridiculous example is government unions. So yes, they do help in some industries, but I really doubt they will in the games industry.
10.
 
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization
Feb 16, 2019, 08:16
10.
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization Feb 16, 2019, 08:16
Feb 16, 2019, 08:16
 
ledhead1969 wrote on Feb 16, 2019, 03:09:
Only low intellect do-nothings think a union benefits them.

So basically you're insulting blue collar workers. But that's to be expected. I mean your kind treats them like trash, uses them and discards them at your will. Or even worse, you could probably be one of those people who belong to the blue collar class of workers, and still hate everything about them. You despise them, because you secretly despise yourself.
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Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization
Feb 16, 2019, 08:13
9.
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization Feb 16, 2019, 08:13
Feb 16, 2019, 08:13
 
PacoTaco wrote on Feb 15, 2019, 20:30:
I hope they print this plea out on nice soft paper. I want a nice clean asshole and no burning. AFL PDQ can suck my hairy beanbag.

I think we got a Scab here.
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8.
 
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization
Feb 16, 2019, 03:59
NKD
8.
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization Feb 16, 2019, 03:59
Feb 16, 2019, 03:59
NKD
 
ledhead1969 wrote on Feb 16, 2019, 03:09:
I asked him what he did all day and his answer was "I try to find out ways to rip the company off".

Funny, because the company execs spend all day trying to find out ways to rip their employees and customers off. Fair is fair right?
"Fuck off, bard." -Geralt of Rivia
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7.
 
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization
Feb 16, 2019, 03:17
7.
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization Feb 16, 2019, 03:17
Feb 16, 2019, 03:17
 
ledhead1969 wrote on Feb 16, 2019, 03:09:
his answer was "I try to find out ways to rip the company off".
lol if that was his answer instead of "I try to find ways to make people's working lives better" then he sounds like a shitty union rep.

Some unions are bad for sure but they're basically the only thing preventing employers from completely fucking our lives.
6.
 
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization
Feb 16, 2019, 03:09
6.
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization Feb 16, 2019, 03:09
Feb 16, 2019, 03:09
 
My buddy used to be a union rep at a Chrysler plant. I asked him what he did all day and his answer was "I try to find out ways to rip the company off". Let's set aside people sleeping on the job and getting paid 150K a year to rivet cars...his job was to find out all the ways to rip the company off.

The plant closed down and thousands lost their job. I asked him if it was worth it. All the union BS if the end result would be all those people losing their livelihood. His answer was 'No'.

Only low intellect do-nothings think a union benefits them.
5.
 
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization
Feb 15, 2019, 21:47
NKD
5.
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization Feb 15, 2019, 21:47
Feb 15, 2019, 21:47
NKD
 
Good luck to these folks. Many of my family members are or were union people. My grandmother was in the OPEIU, my grandfather was the business manager/sec-treasurer for a Construction Laborers' union local. My dad and two of my uncles were members of that union, and one of my uncles was a Teamster and drove for UPS for many years.

Unions did a lot for my family, so I like to see people teaming up to get themselves a better deal.
"Fuck off, bard." -Geralt of Rivia
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4.
 
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization
Feb 15, 2019, 21:12
Cutter
 
4.
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization Feb 15, 2019, 21:12
Feb 15, 2019, 21:12
 Cutter
 
Come gather round children, its high time ye learns, bout a hero named Homer and a devil named Burns.

We'll march till we drop, the girls and the fellas, we'll fight till the death or else fold like umbrellas.

So we'll march day and night, by the big cooling tower. they have the plant, but we have the power.
"Well, he’s not a villain Summer, but he shouldn’t be your hero. He’s more like a demon, or a super fucked up god." - Morty Smith
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3.
 
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization
Feb 15, 2019, 20:30
3.
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization Feb 15, 2019, 20:30
Feb 15, 2019, 20:30
 
a

This comment was edited on Sep 1, 2019, 00:47.
2.
 
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization
Feb 15, 2019, 19:44
Nimh
 
2.
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization Feb 15, 2019, 19:44
Feb 15, 2019, 19:44
 Nimh
 
Bill Borre wrote on Feb 15, 2019, 19:30:
It's certainly an interesting logistics challenge for the people in the industry. Who does the union consist of? Programmers? Artists? Actors? Only those who work for the big two, EA/ActiBliz? People who work for smaller publishers?

The answer would be ‘yes’.. (aside from actors, who mostly should be SAG)

Wishing them the best, it’s not going to be easy.
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1.
 
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization
Feb 15, 2019, 19:30
1.
Re: AFL-CIO Pitches Game Development Unionization Feb 15, 2019, 19:30
Feb 15, 2019, 19:30
 
It's certainly an interesting logistics challenge for the people in the industry. Who does the union consist of? Programmers? Artists? Actors? Only those who work for the big two, EA/ActiBliz? People who work for smaller publishers?
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