A wave of worker solidarity continues to wash over the gaming industry, but not everyone is playing ball. While some companies have chosen to voluntarily recognize newly-formed unions, most notably Microsoft, others have been more reluctant to come to the table. The latest developments concern development studio Proletariat, the workers of which formed the Proletariat Workers Alliance back in December.
The PWA, working with Communications Workers of America, called on management at Proletariat to voluntarily recognize the union back at its formation. However the company, which was acquired by Blizzard last year shortly after shuttering development on its magic-flinging battle royale Spellbreak, pushed back in a post on its site yesterday. The post called for a fully-fledged anonymous union vote overseen by the NLRB, which it cites as “the fairest option” as well as offering employees the opportunity to “get all the information and various points of view.”
Historically, this latter pledge has been used by management in and outside of the industry as an excuse to peddle union-busting rhetoric in an attempt to sway workers’ minds through misinformation and thinly-veiled threats. Nevertheless, Proletariat maintains that it “is and has always been pro-worker,” citing the studio’s own name as evidence of its good intentions. The post does not mention the company’s acquisition by Blizzard, which is cited as a catalyzing factor in the PWA’s vision statement, but rather focuses on the relationship it has built with its employees past and present over the last ten years.
Should the vote succeed, the PWA would join the rapidly-growing number of unions in the gaming industry. It would also be notable in its cross-discipline nature — several of the unions so far formed, such as at Raven Software and Bethesda Softworks, have been primarily composed of QA testers, while the PWA would boast members from QA, animation, engineering, and more.