Games News

Biggest US labour organisation writes open letter to developers

AFL-CIO
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations logo
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations

In light of the troubling recent events, where Activision Blizzard's record profits resulted in layoffs, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) have written an open letter to game developers.

As you're probably well aware by now, Activision Blizzard's CEO Bobby Kotick has rewarded his employees' participation in the company's record revenues with layoffs of 8 per cent of them, amounting to 800 people.

This prompted the author of the letter, AFL-CIO's secretary-treasurer Liz Shuler, to ask a series of quite straightforward questions that developers not only should, but must ask themselves - what are you getting in return?

"While you’re putting in crunch time, your bosses are ringing the opening bell on Wall Street. While you’re creating some of the most groundbreaking products of our time, they’re pocketing billions. While you’re fighting through exhaustion and putting your soul into a game, Bobby Kotick and Andrew Wilson are toasting to 'their' success", the letter reads.

The solution AFL-CIO proposes is unionising, which the gaming industry seems to be on the brink of at the moment, a solution that's likely to be further accelerated by Activision Blizzard's decision. After all, if that's what they do in times of record revenues, what in the world will happen when they start losing funds.

They're not the only company AFL-CIO mentioned in their letter though, as they also mentioned Rockstar Games, whose crunch time during development of Red Dead Redemption 2 has been subject to many a discussion recently.

While we can't say that such treatment of workers has become the norm in the industry, certain companies sure seem to be interested in making it so. Nevertheless, there are many glaring examples of companies doing things differently.

AltCharThe American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations logoActivision Blizzard CEO, Bobby Kotick

There's no doubt that the time has come for the people that have been creating a large chunk of our daily fun to band together and demand, nay - enforce a proper treatment.

Otherwise, they can look forward to "outrageous hours and inadequate paychecks. Stressful, toxic work conditions that push you to your physical and mental limits. The fear that asking for better means risking your dream job."

You can find the full letter here