It looks like unions are finally gaining a toe hold in the computer game industry, which is arguably the most abusive workplace in IT:
A concern-trolling panel at the Game Developers Conference was the catalyst that led workers to start organizing in a way they never have before.
At this point, you already know the facts: Game workers crunch too much. They’re underpaid compared to comparable positions in other industries. They burn out fast and young. We’ve had, for years upon years, stories and statistics proving all of this, decades of anonymous interviews with artists and coders desperate for something to change, from EA Spouse to the Rockstar Spouses, from The Guardian to Kotaku to here at Waypoint.
We are all aware. Awareness alone has changed nothing.
A little over a week ago, a blip came over the feed of a small Facebook chat group dedicated to discussing games and their creation. It was a link to a roundtable announcement at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. On March 21st, Jen MacLean, executive director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), was heading up a talk on games industry unionization.
But in this case, the panel was clearly skewed toward blunting union sentiment. It was right there in the title. “Union Now? Pros, Cons, and Consequences of Unionization for Game Devs Roundtable.” (My emphasis). Perhaps it was the contradictions layered one on top of another which made the union roundtable too much for some to bear this time. Whatever the spark was, it tindered a flame.
Read the whole article, but it appears that MacLean, was so snarky that it led to people realizing that the IGDA was a tool of management, and not a reasonable alternative to a labor union.
Here’s hoping that the moronic Ayn Rand sensibilities which permeate IT don’t sabotage this effort.