The Communications Workers of America (CWA), the largest communications and media labor union in the US, has launched a campaign to unionize the video game industry. Backed by smaller grassroots organizations, the union has created the Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE).
Serious problems in the video game industry
Over the past few years, there have been many reports about workplace conditions at a number of studios. Issues ranging from sexism and harassment to sweeping layoffs have been common despite record-breaking growth. There is also the notorious crunch that shows up near many games’ release dates. Not every studio is affected by these issues, but they are common enough that consumers and outside organizations have taken notice. After all, the video game industry is now worth well over $100 billion, and it’s only getting bigger. That’s bound to get a lot of attention.
“Companies in the technology and game industries have gotten away with avoiding accountability for far too long,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “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.”
CODE is the fruit of the collaboration between the CWA and Game Workers Unite (GWU). GWU is a grassroots organization that has been working on unionization and worker’s rights alone for a while. There isn’t any word on how much money CODE will be operating on. However, they have hired some talent to help out with the campaign. That includes Emma Kinema, the co-founder of Game Workers Unite.
This might be what the push needs in order to pick up steam. “In my experience self-organizing in the game industry, people are very bottlenecked by the lack of resources and lack of legal know-how and a lack of funding — it’s very tough,” Kinema told the LA Times. “The decades of experience and resources that come from partnering with an organization like CWA can take it to the next level.”
Hopefully, CODE can help solve some of the issues plaguing the games industry. For more information, make sure to check out their website.