The unionization of game developers and other workers in the video game industry has become a prominent topic for discussion as of late, following layoffs and worker burnout throughout the industry. This topic especially exploded earlier this year, after secretary-treasurer Liz Shuler American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) wrote an open letter on Kotaku to address workers in the gaming industry and encourage them to unionize and join the 12 million workers currently represented by the AFL-CIO.
Today, U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (D-VT), a self-described Democratic Socialist, tweeted his support for those trying to unionize within the gaming industry. He included a link to a TIME article from earlier this month, summarizing common struggles experienced by people working in the gaming industry.
The video game industry made $43 billion in revenue last year. The workers responsible for that profit deserve to collectively bargain as part of a union. I’m glad to see unions like @IATSE and the broader @GameWorkers movement organizing such workers. https://t.co/Ia5gMG2v0w
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 18, 2019
Sanders recognizes and praises the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and Game Workers Unite for encouraging workers in creative fields to unionize. Game Workers Unite describes their organization as “an international grassroots organization of game workers organizing unions to improve our industry” in their Twitter bio. Clicking on the link below their bio leads to a webpage that shows the different local chapters of the organization, for anyone looking to join or even create their own chapter.
Sanders often speaks on issues pertaining to workers’ rights and unions. He’s currently one of 23 Democrats in the running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination for the 2020 election. Now that he’s called attention to growing efforts by game developers to unionize, more people may become aware of this ongoing conversation within the gaming industry.