Writers for Lovestruck, a mobile game produced by Voltage Entertainment USA, have won an average 78 per cent pay increase and greater transparency at work after a ground-breaking 21-day strike. It is the first successful game worker strike in the history of the game development industry.
The 21 workers, who write romantic interactive fiction, were were supported by UNI Global Union affiliate, the Communications Workers of America (CWA). CWA President Chris Shelton said:
“CWA members understand the power of going on strike, and we are proud that the Voltage workers are part of the CWA family. Joining together to address the issues they face is the best way for working people to improve their lives. The writers’ bold action is a model for others who are ready to fight to improve working conditions in the video games industry and beyond.”
The 21 writers, who are all women, nonbinary and/or LGBTQIA, have only met virtually and approached CODE-CWA early on to seek help in improving their working conditions before the strike. CODE (the Campaign to Organize Digital Employees) is the union’s new initiative to support workers’ organizing efforts in the technology and game industries.
After management rejected the demands they presented on 13 July, the workers decided to strike – even though as independent contractors they were not protected by U.S. labour law.
“It was so vital to come together and support each other in an industry that often pushes a race to the bottom. If you’re a games worker wondering about your worth right now, please know that it’s more than you might believe—and that you have people willing to fight for you. We are all much stronger together,” said Lovestruck writer, Devan Soyka.
Organizing game workers is part of UNI’s strategy to strengthen the union voice in the sector and this key victory will encourage others to take action to stop being exploited.
Teresa Casertano, UNI’s Head of ICTS, said:
“Being a sole contractor working from home, doesn’t mean that you are alone. These workers had never met in person, yet by organizing they were able to unite, support one another, and win. This is the power of a union. Congratulations to CWA and all the writers at Lovestruck on making history in the games industry.”