UNIONS AREN’T JUST FOR PLUMBERS
Learn about what unions do and how they can improve our industry.
What is a Union?
A Union is a group of workers from a specific industry that have banded together to:
- Advocate for worker’s rights
- Provide stronger bargaining power when negotiating things like benefits, salary, PTO, and paid overtime
- Bring greater stability and job security by reducing opportunities for unjustified layoffs and disincentivizing outsourcing abuse and overuse.
Who is considered a Game Developer?
A Game Developer is anyone that works to create video games. Artists, animators, programmers, producers, audio engineers, designers, directors, etc.
That includes employees at major studios as well as indie developers, freelancers, contractors, and everything in between. From AAA console and PC development to phone and web games.
What would a Union do for game developers?
Some of the top priorities of the Game Developers Union would include standardizing requirements for:
- Paid overtime. This would not only ensure compensation for late nights spent at the office, but will also act as a financial deterrent against abusive overuse of overtime expectations.
- Better Compensation. Locally established minimum position salaries and contractor rates. Elimination of unpaid “internships” that actually generate usable development assets.
- Support for abused workers and toxic work environments. A means to report and stop abusive practices and toxic work environments without the fear of retaliation.
- Rules and requirements for crediting developers. Mandatory crediting for actual titles (not just “additional support”) of developers who leave studios before a project ship that actually get enforced.
- Better Benefits. PTO (Paid Time Off) minimums, Maternity and Paternity PTO, better support for relocation costs, and tighter regulation and qualifications to be considered non-benefits earning on-site contractors.
- Removal of unpaid “Art Tests”. There’s no denying the value in an art test for a prospective employee. Unfortunately though, many companies have no issue not only in requiring ridiculously involved tests, but issuing them out to far more candidates than they actually intend to consider. Requiring employers to pay prospective hirees for art tests will reduce this abusive behavior and force employers to be more selective with who they choose to require art tests from.
But what if I’m a freelancer, remote, or on-site contractor?
Freelancers and contractors, both off-site and on, have been increasingly marginalized with reduced pay rates, unpaid “art tests”, and abusive overuse of long term (in may cases, a year or more) on-site contracts with no relocation, benefits, or guarantee of future employment.
Freelancers and contractors stand to benefit as much as their salaried brothers and sisters from strong Union requirements for pay rates, mandatory benefit minimums, and establishing clear cut rules on who can and can not be considered a “contractor.”
What about all those Union “fat cats” the media warned me about?
Corporations have done an incredible job selling their own twisted narrative on the evils of unionization. Although a healthy Union benefits workers as much as the companies they work for, the idea of a strong, united workforce scares the daylights out of many companies that utilize abusive practices.
The Game Developers Union is working to obtain Non Profit status and is an of-the-people, for-the-people entity, driven and staffed by game industry veterans.
A true Union is a collective of and for the workers within it. Union leadership must be accountable and accessible and the voices of all members must be heard. No one should be getting rich off running a Union. The Union exists FOR the workers, and that’s the bottom line.