Washington, D.C - Today, Alex Speidel, one of the lead organizers from United Paizo Workers/CWA, met with President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, and other worker organizers at the White House to discuss how he and his co-workers at Paizo won voluntary recognition for their union. Workers at Paizo help produce the popular award-winning Pathfinder and Starfinder tabletop game series.
Speidel and his co-workers formed United Paizo Workers/CWA in the fall of 2021 in response to the departure of several long-term employees amid allegations of managerial impropriety. In addition, the workers raised concerns about a pattern of inconsistent hiring practices, pay inequity across the company, allegations of verbal abuse from executives and management, and allegations of harassment ignored or covered up by those at the top.
During the meeting, Speidel told the group that freelancers who worked for Paizo began to refuse assignments from the company in solidarity with the workers’ request for voluntary recognition of their union. He said that this action strengthened the workers’ position and likely contributed to Paizo’s decision to grant voluntary recognition.
When a majority of workers have signed cards indicating that they support forming a union, they often ask their employer to voluntarily recognize and bargain with the union. Under current law, employers are not required to agree. Instead, even when overwhelming majorities of workers provide written support for the union, many employers force them to undergo a lengthy process to hold a National Labor Relations Board-supervised election. That current process offers many opportunities for the employer to exploit the law to delay the election, allowing them more time to wage an anti-union campaign.
“It was very exciting to meet with President Biden, Vice President Harris and Secretary of Labor Walsh today. Being able to discuss CWA’s campaign to organize game and tech workers, and to share the incredible work being done by the United Paizo Workers and our team of freelance writers, was truly an honor, and I’m so glad to have been invited. It is my hope that the administration continues their support of workers who are organizing to join unions in all industries, and that we are able to take this momentum back to CWA to continue the CODE-CWA campaign. Every worker deserves a union!"
CWA’s CODE-CWA project supports workers in the tech and game industries who are organizing for change at their workplaces. CODE-CWA workers at Activision’s Raven Software studio are currently voting in their union election. Apple retail workers organizing with CODE-CWA’s support will begin voting in the first-ever union recognition election at Apple on June 2.
President Biden has put working people front and center in his policies. Vice President Harris and Secretary Walsh serve as Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively, of the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment. The Task Force’s mission is to identify actions the Executive Branch can take to support worker power, worker organizing, and collective bargaining.