The fight for the gaming industry union reached the White House on Thursday. That’s where Alex Speidel, one of the leading organizers of United Paizo Workers met with President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Minister Marty Walsh at the Oval Office. The meeting was confirmed by an official photo in the president’s Twitter account.
Members were present in the Oval Office with Speidel Titmouse Productions (The Legend of Vox Machina), which are organized within the IATSE. There was also Amazon Labor Union President Chris Smalls. Smalls, the top labor leader who attended the event, was asked to testify before the Senate Budget Committee by its chairman, Senator Bernie Sanders.
“These are not left-wing or right-wing things,” Smalls said, referring to the right to a union without unlawful government interference. “This is a problem of the working class, and it is the workers below who are forcing these corporations to go.”
Sanders took the opportunity to dazzle what he called Amazon’s activities to destroy unions. “Amazon has done everything possible – legally and illegally – to defeat the union’s efforts,” he said.
While Amazon distribution workers across the country found it difficult to organize their jobs, Paizo workers were much smoother on the path to voluntary recognition – that is, to official recognition by Paizo management as a unit of collective bargaining. According to Speidel, the last push was made with the help of a contingent of freelance writers who simply stopped accepting new works.
According to a press release issued by Paizo Workers, Speidel shared with President Biden how these freelancers “began to reject the company’s appointments in solidarity with the workers’ request for voluntary recognition of their union.” These collective actions, Speidel said, were key to strengthening the position of full-time workers.
“It was a real honor to have the opportunity to discuss the CWA’s organization of gaming and technical workers, as well as to share the incredible work done by United Paizo Workers and our team of freelance writers,” Speidel said in a press release. “I hope that the administration will continue to support workers who are organized into unions in all industries, and that we will be able to return this impetus to the CWA to continue the CODE-CWA campaign. Every worker deserves a union! ”
CODE-CWA was created in 2020 with the help of Emma Kinema, co-founder Game Workers unite, a mass organization working to unite the video game industry. Oddly enough, but this is the employees of the company best known for its role-playing games with pen and paper, like Tracker and Starfinder who helped lead the way. Since then, additional efforts have been made to organize unions Raven software (part of Activision Blizzard) and on Keywords Studiosworking with BioWare and other developers and publishers to provide quality support (QA).