The rights of video game staff have been a hot topic lately. Reports of a demoralization of crunch time, where employees are sometimes expected to work 100 hours a week, have led to a discussion about whether the video game industry should organize or not. We have not seen this yet, but one person in favor of the movement is Vermont's Senator Bernie Sanders, who is currently one of the top Democrats running for president in 2020.
Sanders used the social media to get involved in the movement's argument for uniting the video game industry. "The video game industry generated $ 43 billion in sales last year," he said. "The workers responsible for this gain deserve collective bargaining as part of a union." Sanders then tagged some organizations trying to help video game developers with union building, such as Game Workers Unite and IATSE's controversial topic, and like every political issue, it has its supporters and critics alike. However, a survey earlier this year found that at least half of video game developers want to form a union, so union training in the video game industry seems to be well supported.
The video game industry made $ 43 billion in revenue last year. The workers responsible for this profit deserve collective bargaining as part of a union. I'm glad to see unions like @IATSE and the wider @GameWorkers movement organizing such workers. https://t.co/Ia5gMG2v0w[19659005)-BernieSanders(@BernieSanders) June 18, 2019
One of the main arguments in favor of trade union formation in the video game industry is the perceived maltreatment of video game developers by companies. This is something that a union could possibly stop. For example, Activision recently fired hundreds of employees while boasting a "record year". This situation can be avoided if video game developers are protected by a union.
Meanwhile, those opposed to unions may voice concerns that video game prices will rise as the industry becomes unionized. Anti-union activists also often raise the possibility that a potentially better qualified worker can not find work because a less qualified person can keep their jobs because of trade union protection.
Whether it's anti-union or anti-union, Bernie's comments are still remarkable as they are the first time that a major politician has publicly debated the matter in relation to the video game industry. It remains to be seen whether Bernie's advocacy of union building in the video game industry will have a lasting impact.
Image Source: Gage Skidmore