Video Game and Tech Workers Unionization Campaign

A story on the Los Angeles Times outlines an effort by the Communications Workers of America to unionize employees of video game and tech companies. This involves what's called the Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE, get it?). This arises from a grassroots effort from a couple of years ago called Game Workers Unite rather than the pitch last year from the AFL-CIO. The article also reports a separate new formal relationship between the Toronto chapter of Game Workers Unite with the Communications Workers of America. The story details some of the issues facing the game industry, including crunch, production schedule-related layoffs, and forced arbitration of sexual harassment and workplace discrimination claims. Here's a bit more quoting both CWA lead organizer Tom Smith and Game Workers Unite co-founder Emma Kinema:
The new project charts a path away from organizing video game workers along the Hollywood craft union model. SAG-AFTRA has represented video game voice actors for years, and called a strike in 2017 over pay and royalty structures. But CWA largely follows the industrial union model, which organizes entire companies at once rather than splitting workers who perform different jobs into specialized unions.

Smith, for his part, said that CWA could accommodate craft-based organizing if that’s what video game or tech workers want, emphasizing that the workers will ultimately decide how to organize. But Kinema saw the decision to join CWA in starker terms.

“We believe workers are strongest when they’re together in one shop in one union, so the disciplines can’t be pitted against each other—none of that’s good for the workers,” Kinema said. “I think in games and tech the wall-to-wall industrial model is the best fit.”