Josh Druckerman // Evan White

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Evan White: Uh, yes. This is Evan -- you can refer to me as Evan or Evan J. White. Partner with White Harris PLLC. I have a background involving labor unions based on my first job out of law school, which was actually with the City of New York representing municipal agency that was exclusively charged with negotiating with city unions, arbitrating labor grievances and litigating any collective bargaining disputes.

So my background is in a very traditional sense of labor law and from that I have a very kind of -- well, I would say a developed understanding of some of the traditional labor union constructs and what they -- what labor unions bring to the table in terms of a negotiating framework and some common concepts that they bring to their relationships with employers. I also worked in private practice representing some other unionized employers in various industries.

What makes us unique and something that we really love about some of our more modern-day clients is taking the constructs of traditional labor or traditional employment law and sort of fusing them with, or holding them up to, new work models. Whether it’s sort of a shared work culture, whether it’s work that’s driven by location-based services -- different types of frameworks and the videogame industry is a perfect example.

We have a culture and an industry that functions a little differently than our standard 9 to 5 workforce, and what we’re seeing here is an intersection between a very traditional form of law -- you know, something that was born out of very oppressive working conditions and employee struggles, from early last century and those constructs and rules are looking to be, or -- you’re posing them to us as being applied to a workforce and an industry that is like nothing we’ve ever seen before, so that’s kind of my take on my history and what we kind of bring to bear to this conversation. Josh here is very well-versed in the industry.


Sure thing. Thank you.

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Josh Druckerman: So I’m Josh Druckerman. I’m an associate at White Harris PLLC. So I’m an attorney that’s -- you spoke with Ryan Morrison previously, right?


Yeah, last week.

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Josh Druckerman:

Yeah. So kind of -- in a similar way to Ryan, I focus my learning and my focus in the law is very much in kind of employment in the new media, electronic, entertainment, technology realms. Like Evan said, specifically, people are creating all kinds of new ways to work and all kinds of new ways to work together and new business models that are enabled both by technology and take advantage of technology.

And so a lot of what makes up our day-to-day is taking these laws designed to kind of -- they’re designed to apply to factories. You suit up, you go, you make a whole bunch of widgets, you punch out at the end of the day. The laws were made for that context, and they’re not designed to really to be a really clean fit on your average game studio or your average design studio, or a recording studio. I mean, there’s a lot of entertainment options but much of the modern workplace is radically different from the types of workplaces that the labor laws were designed to apply to.

So that’s kind of a little bit of what we do here, but personally I’ve worked in a number of small tech companies from hardware and software, I’ve been an audio editor in the past and I’m very involved in kind of watching and -- keeping up with the business models associated with newer forms of electronic entertainment like e-sports, like drone racing, like new ways of consuming content and getting experiences. So that’s my spiel; I have a personal interest that is very much informing how and what we do and the types of clients that we serve.


Before we started I know you said that the game industry has some pretty unique parameters. You’re not the first ones to tell me in my reporting on this, that the game industry is very much kind of its own sort of thing. I don’t know that I fully believe it is 100 percent unique, or that it is incomparable to the rest of the world. It can still learn from other industries, and others outside of this space can learn how it’s different and similar.

It has some similarities to other industries, you know, in that in that there’s a lot of work-for-hire, in that it’s a very hit-driven business, but from where you’re sitting, what’s unique about its architecture and the way that it works? What makes it unlike any other industry?

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Josh Druckerman: So, I think one of the big factors -- I mean, it’s a non-traditional work environment but I think one of the big factors is the sheer desirability of the positions in the industry. People are willing to not be paid very much and do some really, really boring, rote drudgery work to get involved. It works great when you’re a small studio or you’re just a couple of friends together trying to put this game out, but once you scale that up and you blow it up to the size to the EA or the Blizzard or the really, really massive triple-A studios running really, really intense deadlines, things break down. We have an industry that’s still very much got its feet in its roots. And -- but it’s now fully grown up and it has been for awhile, but it’s now kind of dealing with some of those growing pains.

Evan White: I think one of the really cool things about the videogame industry and a videogame studios in particular when you take a look at a given project, in order to create your finished product you must involve a cross-section of multiple industries that are very different that have to be integrated and keep moving so, for example, programming, design, project management, press, and marketing. You have interwoven industries that are not all entirely similar and require different technical skills and different work rules and work cultures as well as differing work schedules that you’re melding together and I think that that is pretty unique and kind of adds a nice but complex little twist to the question of how are we going to weave this labor union culture and traditional work rules and practices, into this truly unique and modern work environment.


#In the past, people would be taking bats to the knees of anyone who was talking unions. I don’t really see that anymore. What I tend to see instead a lot of is people shooting down the idea of discussing it themselves before even considering it.

#Or, for something like this article I’m hoping to do, as you might imagine it’s difficult to get developers to go on the record and say, “Yeah, I think it’s a good idea.” It’s career suicide. I know there are certainly developers talking about this stuff in private, on private Skype channels or Slack channels, but the talk as far as I can tell doesn’t go past that point. I’m not asking yet if you would prescribe further movement than that, but if people do want to take it further: Why is it a stupid idea or why is it not a stupid idea? That seems to be the initial binary, as an impasse.

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Evan White: It is not a stupid idea. It’s a possibility that must be well-researched by both sides, because there can be drawbacks to bad internal personnel management in a non-union setting, there can be drawbacks to bad labor union management relationships.

And what I think is absolutely most critical for employees that are considering this is that they consider all sides and consider especially -- and this is coming from a management-side attorney that represents businesses, rather than employees, in these sorts of situations -- that their line of communication over terms of conditions of employment is going to be forever changed. They will not be able to have these candid discussions with their bosses over wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment. Instead, those terms must be bargained over by a third party with their employer, so that is something that is critical that they need to make an honest assessment as to whether they’re at a point where they feel it's beneficial to communicate through union leadership rather than directly with their employer on those important work subjects.

In unionized situations you are also talking about fairly uniform treatment across the board of people that fit into certain boxes, bargaining agreements that may not necessarily fit in a videogame culture. People have various skills and abilities and talents and they don’t fit within a box or a title or a seniority structure necessarily, so it’s really critical that employees, as the management-side attorney I’d say, employees should absolutely do their homework and research what the best situation is for them, but they really need to be thorough. They can’t just say, “Well, because we’re unionizing, I’m going to get more leave now, or I’m going to be able to go home early now or I’m going to have a better quality of life.” They need to look at all the operational aspects and changes.

Generally, videogame employees are highly competitive people -- also something to consider is whether bringing in a union is going to have an effect on the ability for the company to be competitive, because possibly the greatest concern about unionization may be a restriction on work hours and a slowdown in productivity, so those are things to consider. I’m not going to come in and advocate an anti-union stance, I’m going to advocate for an educated stance, and on the flip side employers seeing the prospect of potential unionization -- not necessarily a campaign but employees considering it -- also should understand that they may be able to address employee fears by having a robust personnel and HR platform that assures that employees are heard, have a good quality of life and are compensated in a way that will, you know, potentially enable them to move forward without having that third party at the negotiating table as sort of a conduit to discuss terms and conditions of employment.

Josh Druckerman: Can I just step in real quick?


Yeah, go ahead Josh.

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Josh Druckerman: And so I’m just going to step in real quick also there. So you know, I imagine in doing research for this you saw a lot about the Writers Guild picking up a whole bunch of -- I mean, BuzzFeed, Gawker, the Huffington Post. These are, again, basically clickbait and new media companies that have grown up and the employees decided that they wanted to unionize.

Well, what I thought was very interesting was that Gawker actually publicly posted and provided a public venue for employees to discuss the unionization process through comments to an article. And you know, one of the those things that kind of came through -- through that public conduit was there was a lot of a railroading. There was a lot of, “Well, we need to do this quickly. We deserve this.”

There was not a single post about, “Well, now I can’t just go over to the corner office and complain about such-and-such taking his time off.” In this legal realm, there are pros and cons to anything, and unions are a very, complicated and expensive pro and/or con.

And this applies whether you’re BuzzFeed or whether you’re General Motors. For instance, the IGDA published a study that indicated that 56 percent of the polled developers -- I think this came from a sample size of 2200 people -- would vote for an industry-wide union. That is a big thing in and of itself, but if you’re attempting to create an industry-wide union, that union has to bargain collectively with every studio. And that is a time-consuming and expensive process. And people are left floating, will be left floating in air during that. And considering the length of – you know, the length of time that some of these “kamikaze” studios exist, you know, the immediate benefits may be limited.

Evan White: There at least is the possibility of a threat of moving the workforce elsewhere where the constraints aren’t quite as tight if production deadlines are going to dictate that this work needs to be done and a profitable product needs to be achieved -- that is something that bears some consideration in the conversation.


You’re talking about like offshoring jobs, stuff like that? Or contract work?

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Evan White: Yeah, outsourcing.

In other conversations I had off-the-record -- that sort of thing is a big deterrent to even having unions work, because that’s just sort of the reality of the situation. A lot of that work is happening already. There’s just a lot of in-house employees who are technically contract workers.


Well, that brings a whole other host of problems in our wheelhouse.

Josh Druckerman: Yeah, this is not union-related, but we would love to -- Evan White: Yeah, we would love to go down that road, but that’s a window into something that takes up a whole lot of our time with modern workplaces and new interesting start-up businesses.


I’d be happy to hear that, and it doesn’t surprise me at all. It’s the same in many industries right now, which is just to say that this is the world we live in. Even in my line of work, I can’t tell you how many jobs I’ve been offered that were 39 hours a week, no benefits, still technically being a contract worker. You’re working full-time hours but are not being considered an employee. Ryan was saying the IRS is aware of this happening and it’s just a matter of time before something is done about it.

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Evan White: From that standpoint there was a study a number of years ago that showed -- I haven’t looked at this in a few years but that showed how much tax revenue, money was being lost by the country due to misclassification. If they’re not paying you as an employee, they’re not paying payroll taxes, you’re not paying back into the system. You could as a contractor, income I’m not a tax specialist on this – you could take deductions. So, the government loses when you’re not employing individuals and as a result regulatory attention and audits within this area have been increasing tremendously over the past few years.


By “this area,” you mean the game industry?

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Josh Druckerman: Everywhere.

Evan White: Everywhere. Literally when you look at money that’s earmarked by the government for auditors within the Department of Labor, it’s a tremendous amount and it really is something that is rampant at this time. It’ll hit nearly every single industry.

Josh Druckerman: Yeah, and I mean, not to go too far down the rabbit hole, but first -- so misclassification is when someone who is, as a legal matter, an “employee,” is being treated like an unpaid intern or an independent contractor. Whether or not someone is an employee or a contractor is actually a matter of law. You can’t just sign an agreement saying, “Oh, I’m an independent contractor,” or, “Oh, I’m an unpaid intern” without fulfilling a very strict test. And the Department of Labor’s positions are generally that you’re misclassified unless you can basically show these very specific factors.

So if you have someone you brought in as a coder on a 1099, or an in-house art person who shows up at your office and contributes a meaningful part of your project and is paid as a contractor, then that person -- there’s a chance that person may be a misclassified employee. That’s the sort of stuff that the Department of Labor and the IRS are interested in. Because that’s kind of where the money, such as payroll taxes, unemployment insurance contributions, is disappearing.


Just to make sure I’m hearing you correctly, you said that a contract can’t just like magically reclassify what an employee is just to fit the company’s prerogative? Is that what you said?

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Evan White: There are a number of varying tests. Both the IRS and the Department of Labor each have their own tests. The courts have their own tests. It’s a -- I guess qualitative assessment of the nature of the relationship between the two parties. So they’re going to look at a variety of factors, including the level of oversight, level of economic dependence, where the services are performed, as well as whether the contractor is holding themselves out in the marketplace as an actual business.


Isn’t this the sort of thing where a union would be one possible solution to help better regulate and make sure people aren’t signing contracts that they shouldn’t be? Or at least to have an awareness of what they’re getting into and not having a net below them for?

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Evan White:

I suppose indirectly, because in essence a union is -- when they come in they identify what are referred to as collective bargaining units. And those are individuals that perform the same or similar types of tasks within a workplace. Now, a cynical view of a business trying to work with a contractor that does bargaining unit work would be that the union could get upset and say there’s a person in there working that needs to be an employee and a union member, you can’t do that. So that’s one way of looking at it, where a union might try to force an employer to hire the contractor as a union worker or replace them with a union worker.

Josh Druckerman: Misclassification -- you know, it’s not directly tied to unions in and of itself, but it is a recurring problem in many, many, many industries and one that we deal with very regularly. I’ve spoken with Ryan with this about a number of points because, you know, many of his studio clients have integral people that are retained as “1099 contractors” and the studios try to give these “contractors” a non-compete and very strict work restrictions and that sort of thing and it just makes it more likely that they are actually misclassified employees.

But, anyway, moving back towards the union discussion. So you know, I don’t remember the actual URL, but I would actually consider taking a look at that Gawker post where the employees themselves discuss unionization because that’s the sort of actual conversation that can and should be had in these situations. That particular post is instructive in two ways, because it shows kind of the extent to which a union can railroad unionization at a shop, but it also shows a dialogue between employees who are actually genuinely concerned about what this means for them.


You know, even in Hollywood where everybody but the VFX artists are unionized -- and Hollywood is an example where you can take a creative industry with all kinds of different types of work and types of job requirements and people with different levels of expertise and seniority and make a union work.


But I mean, that was a very complicated and very long-fought process situation. Across several different types of jobs.I’ve spoken to about five attorneys for this story, and another one I spoke to earlier this week told me that the fact that the game industry is as splintered as it is is actually a decent parallel to how splintered Hollywood is. That there, there is also different skills and types of groups that come together on projects. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, but in games you’ll have coders and visual artists and lighting artists and writers -- and on and on. There’s all sorts of things.

But this other lawyer told me that that actually makes a good case for unionization being possible, even if it starts spreading slowly. What do you think?

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Evan White: So they’re offering the premise that because Hollywood is diversified and has multiple unions representing multiple trades, and videogames are diversified and would require multiple unions involving multiple trades, then that means it’s all – it’s an easy transition and that unionization would be simple for the videogame industry.

Josh Druckerman: Is that what they’re saying?

Evan White: Is that sort of the premise?


I don’t know if it would be simple, but he said it might serve as some sort of roadmap or an indication that a similar model might be possible, yes.

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Josh Druckerman:

Okay, yeah, I mean certainly it shows that it is possible for it to happen. But remember that this means for anybody who wants to create a new movie has to, you know, work with unions representing the grips, the cameramen, the voice actors, the animators, et cetera. This means that they either have to agree to an outstanding existing collective bargaining agreement that’s typically pretty pro-employee, or you have to negotiate with the union to draft your own collective bargaining agreement. And that’s time-consuming and expensive.


Is it useful to look at other industries when trying to figure this sort of stuff out? Or is the game industry such a unique thing that it just gets confusing and it’s not a helpful guide?

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Evan White:

I think it’s useful to an extent, I think if you’re going to paint some things with a broad brush then you’re going to run into some problems because the game industry is it’s own little microcosm. You know, a gaming operation and a movie production are two different things, involving two entirely different work cultures and workforces.

So to say that they’re apples to apples would not be accurate. But to look at certain specific criteria saying, “Yes, okay, hypothetically yes, in Hollywood there are multiple collective bargaining agreements in play on the same project, could that be possible in the videogame industry?” Possibly yes. But, I think that there are some cultural components that are so distinctly different in the games industry, as well as personalities that are so distinctly different that it would be impossible to make that direct apples to apples correlation. You’re dealing with people that are almost exclusively very technical and creative versus -- you know, comparing it to dramatic arts, which can be an entirely different business model.


I’ve had several people ask me in the course of the interviews for my project why there isn’t a bigger discussion of unions in the game industry. Is it just me they’re saying this to, or have you also been hearing rumblings about this desire?

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Josh Druckerman: I mean, there have been plenty of articles posted over the last couple of years talking about it, putting cases pro, putting cases against -- there’s one very interesting point actually. I mean, you may have seen this one where, you know, that it may not be the wages, hours, and working conditions that force the industry to unionize, but instead that it might be the right to be credited for your work.

This is important because, you know, one of the things that happens a lot in the game industry is you get these so-called “kamikaze” studios that only last for a single game or project, or you get someone who is only a contractor brought in to you know, save this project last minute, and for whatever reason the publisher doesn’t put their name in the credits.

And that’s something that those individuals will want to put on their résumé. But, if the studio doesn’t exist anymore, or if the publisher didn’t credit them for some reason, it is hard to substantiate that resume entry and the new employer will have to do due diligence to see if the résumé is accurate.

So that is kind of a non-traditional problem that the industry has that is something that a union could address. But again, you know, these are big – these are really big complicated concepts, unfortunately, that require a lot of time, money, patience, and negotiation with just with the amount of negotiation that has to go into these agreements. Because once you have a union and a CBA in place it’s a big pain to change it.

And when you are unionizing, you’re setting something in motion that you need to be able to think through and you need to be able to apply to your various studio cultures. Because an EA culture is going to be very different from, you know, Relic, or Riot, or some small indie like Anisoptera Games.


So, someone who runs a small startup where employees wear many different hats is going to be – is going to have a very different kind of view on what the collective bargaining agreement should contain compared to an EA or a Blizzard who just has a whole bunch of people that work for them in these specific little categories.


You mentioned the IGDA and I also hear oftentimes too, that people don’t really feel like the group’s not doing as much as they could to help stand up for developers’ rights, help change stuff in the industry. My understanding of the industry and the way that it works is that this is supposed to be the entity in the industry that’s supposed to fight or help change these sorts of things. Am I mistaken?

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Josh Druckerman: So, I have not actually worked with the IGDA. But, if you look at some of the people who are on the IGDA board and fall under their umbrella, it is not just developers that are represented, there are also studio heads involved. So the IGDA seems to be kind of more of a -- almost a mediation setting. You know, a place where people can complain and talk, and you know, they certainly do a lot in terms of creating studies and running events and bringing people together, but they’re not – they do not seem to be the sort of you know, combative, assertive body that a union would be.


I think they see themselves more as like a trade association or advocacy group.

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Evan White:

And ordinarily those sorts of groups really assert the rights of their members through legislative lobbying and things of that nature as opposed to just getting involved in collective bargaining.


Is there just like an entity in the industry that’s sort of missing then to do that sort of combative and proactive work as you said?

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Josh Druckerman:

I don’t know of one, but I mean, there’s a lot in this industry that I don’t know about and I’d imagine you would actually have a better view on that than I would.


I don’t know of one either. But to my mind it seems like there is just something missing. I don’t know why that is and I don’t know if it’s just I haven’t heard of it and no one I know hasn’t heard of it. That seems unlikely.

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Josh Druckerman:

Well, if they’re an advocacy group and you haven’t heard of them, they have a problem! So I think it’s probably pretty safe to say that it may not be out there, at least not at a stage where it’s ready to assert itself.

I mean, organizing activity is very heavily protected under federal law. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other ways or other things that can happen that make unionization more difficult or more onerous for employees.


Among the issues that I tend to hear developers at the bigger companies talk about, the main one I hear about is crunch. Are there other workplace issues that you hear about on a steady basis at the bigger studios?

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Josh Druckerman: I mean, a lot of the kind of issues that we deal with in a lot of these kind of new media technologies are the misclassification issues, but that’s on a peripheral level. Remember, we represent the business side in these situations, so on an organizational level there’s liability there that we want to help the company mitigate.

Evan White: One other thing that you hit, you know, taking this into a broader context of the digital media world, is an issue related to overtime compensation and whether creatives or professionals or computer technology professionals are within the definition of an employee that is exempt from overtime -- that is, there are questions about whether they are entitled to receive overtime payment for work performed over 40 hours a week.

Whether or not someone is exempt is another of those complicated questions of law. Under the rules that apply to these creative or technical exemptions, individuals must display certain amounts of independent creativity, originality, and expertise for the business to avail itself of these exemptions.

And what becomes interesting in the digital world in making that assessment, is that a lot of work that’s done from a technical standpoint can be construed as something that is simply not original enough, or simply based on modifying templates, so that the worker wouldn’t be considered to be exempt and would have to be paid overtime at time and a half for all hours worked over 40 in a week.

I know I’m walking us way off path here, but I’m just kind of giving you a little bit of an insight into an issue that would be common to a videogame studio that is very relevant in employment law and the world of digital media.

Josh Druckerman: So for instance, you know, so the people you talk to, say the QA guys. Are they -- are they being paid hourly or salary in your experience?


The ones I’ve talked to, hourly.

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Josh Druckerman: Hourly? And they’re getting overtime, right?


I don’t think so. From what I’ve been told so far, I get the sense working some of these positions is a lot like working retail. Only, a big difference is they are repeatedly treated like they are lucky to have these jobs at all.

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Josh Druckerman:

Mmhmm. And I mean generally under the law people are presumptively entitled to overtime unless they’re exempt, and these exemptions are really narrow. There’s a computer-employee exemption that covers many developers, at least the ones that have sufficient discretion and are doing sufficiently technical work, but you know, these go on a job-by-job or job-title-by-job-title -- even sometimes individual-by-individual basis.

So there are people out there in the games industry who are probably entitled to overtime that may not be getting it. And that’s another thing that -- and that’s something that they can address without a union but that’s something that a union can help somebody out with.


If the game industry wanted to start, what would you prescribe as the best point of entry as this sort of – you know, advocating for themselves as it were.

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Evan White: I mean, if they wanted to start the process, they would need to sort of get in bed with an appropriate union that represents individuals and at least have an exploratory process with an appropriate union or local branch that represents similarly situated individuals that have the knowledge and awareness of that type of work.

There’s a traditional way of forming unions and then there’s more of a corporate way of forming unions, and the traditional is the most common where, you know sentiment is built and spread, through the process of issuing authorization cards. Authorization cards would need to be signed off by a majority of workers showing that there would be an interest in having a union as the collective bargaining agent. That sentiment, and that relationship with a union, would need to build in order for this to move forward, in order for this experiment to happen.

This sort of work would have to happen at the grassroots, and it would be one workplace at a time. They would start spreading sentiment, encouraging – beginning union campaigns, getting authorization cards signed, moving forward with the election process.


Now that being said, where organization efforts have not occurred yet I think studio owners would be well-advised to see if they can build a work culture that makes employees happy. And that prevents them or doesn’t give them the interest in seeking help outward, you know -- you never hear of unionization efforts beginning with happy employees. They don’t -- they say, hey we’re getting screwed, let’s go find someone that’s going to help us.

I think it would be wise for people in the industry to kind of take note and at least -- before the unionization efforts start ramping up, at least make an effort of their own to create the work environment and meet those quality of life issues, and compensation issues and attribution issues that are giving rise to this bubbling up of sentiment.


The problem with that is as we mentioned at the start, like these are sort of seen as glamorous or “cool” jobs. There’s sort of revolving door where you start off as that kid and a couple years later, the coolness has worn off and maybe you feel like you’re being worked to death. I think once you’re at that point, speaking up is beyond uncomfortable -- it’s terrifying.

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Evan White: Well, eventually what may happen is that someone may talk about it, and someone may get fired, and that will create a case, since in many cases firing someone for talking about unionization is illegal. Sometimes in work scenarios or in situations just in general where people are afraid to speak up, sometimes it may just take that one person, that one case or scenario to bring the issue to the forefront. So I understand that this is a work culture where many people think they have a good thing going and they should be so fortunate. But it’s not unheard of in this country for, you know, one employee to step forward and be a test case and grab a headline and make this a relevant topic where it previously wasn’t.

Josh Druckerman: And I mean, there is you know – many of the jobs in Hollywood that are unionized, such as the Screen Actors, are – you know, that’s a very glamorous job that a lot of people try for but they have a union. Same with everyone on Broadway. It is not unheard of for these desirable jobs to unionize.

As Evan said, it may just take somebody that got fired or blacklisted or made an example of, and then the NLRB steps in or the worker makes a claim for retaliatory termination. That’s the sort of thing that grabs headlines, and that sort of thing can start a movement.

And the interesting thing is that you know, as we saw with Gawker and with BuzzFeed and Salon – Gawker started a unionization campaign and then suddenly there was a domino effect. Employees saw an avenue and realized that it was possible to consider unionization. I mean, there are some interesting things to note about which publications have recognized the unions and which ones have opposed unionization, but that’s a little bit of an aside.


But you know, in the industry as it sits right now, people may not be having the conversations, people may not be doing the organizing. But, as with Gawker, in many cases unionization spreads very quickly. And, one thing that the publishers should really be looking at, is that they do have a potential wildfire on their hands. I mean, they’ve got a dry field, basically. They’ve got a lot of people who really want to be there, but they’ve also got a lot of people who are very disillusioned about what the industry is doing for them after they’re on their – you know, eighth job in four years and they’ve moved five times and they’ve just spent eight straight months on crunch.


What does clout in the game industry seem to do for people who are able to make a name for themselves and be synonymous with studios if they do nothing when their studios get shut down or their employees are all set loose with little to no notice or security down the road?

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Josh Druckerman:

I think it’s like anything else in a creative industry. I mean, the gaming industry has a lot of unique facets but at its heart it’s fundamentally an entertainment industry. There’s cults of personality, there are well-publicized fallouts. The industry has its little unique aspects, but overall, if you have clout or if you – and honestly with regards to something union-related you may not even need clout. You just need somebody who’s passionate and who really feels that this is the path to start talking about these things and creating sentiment. And once that happens, the employer can fix the problem or the employer can exacerbate the problem.


Have you ever heard of sort of what the sentiment toward unions actually is at any game publisher?

Josh Druckerman // Evan White: Josh Druckerman: I haven’t really heard much of anything.

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