Communications Workers of America (CWA for short) believes that the crunch (heavy over time that might not even be paid) is having a significantly bad impact on the employers.
Last year, we discussed several occasions of bigger studios (Epic Games, Rockstar Games, Netherrealm Studios, Activision Blizzard, BioWare…) applying crunch. This is a reason why many people leave their workplace (LinkedIn shows that the turnover rate, when an employer gets replaced by a new one, is much higher than in any other tech industries – it’s 15.5%). This is why there are stronger and stronger voices why the developers should unionize. CWA decided to throw its weight behind them this week.
„Companies in the technology and game industries have gotten away with avoiding accountability for far too long. Workers in these industries are exposing the reality behind the rhetoric. This initiative will help tech and game workers reach the next level in their efforts to exercise their right to join together and demand change,” CWA’s president Chris Shelton said in a press release. The initiative is called Campaign to Organize Digital Employees, or CODE, the Los Angeles Times reports. It represents workers in education, broadcast, automotive production, telecommunications, and other industries.
CWA has brought Emma Kinema in for the unionization efforts. She was a co-founder of Game Workers Unite in 2018. It is a labour activism group for employees in the gaming industry. „All workers deserve the safety of being in a union with their coworkers, and especially in the games industry. Gender and race discrimination, pay gaps, crunch, layoffs, and most importantly, having a real guarantee that worker voices are engaged in the direction of these companies – these are issues that need to be fixed,” Kinema said. (And the game industry is not alone in unsatisfied employees: even Amazon and Google have seen protests in the past years.)
A survey done during last year’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) with 4000 respondents brought up that half of them wanted the game devs to unionize, but only 21% of them believed in that happening. That is not that promising.
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