U.S. Senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has taken to Twitter to throw in his support for video game workers unions.
In his message, Sanders gives shout-outs to IATSE (the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) and Game Workers Unite, two organizations that have been working to help game creators organize. He also links to a June 11 Time story about the epidemic of worker burn out occurring in the industry.
The video game industry made $43 billion in revenue last year. The workers responsible for that profit deserve to collectively bargain as part of a union. I'm glad to see unions like @IATSE and the broader @GameWorkers movement organizing such workers. https://t.co/Ia5gMG2v0w
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 18, 2019
Video games make a ton of money, including $43 billion in revenue in 2018 in the U.S. (as Sanders also points out). But the people making games are often overworked and suspect to “crunch,” mandatory (and sometimes unpaid) overtime. Recently, stories of unhealthy crunch cultures have surrounded giant game makers like Rockstar and Electronic Arts. Other employees suffer mass layoffs, like at Activision Blizzard earlier this year, even when their companies are big or even record profits. Some studios shut down completely.
Sanders is running on a platform that is tackling many social issues, including health care for all and an expansion of social security. But it is rare to see a politician, especially one running for president, address a video game-related issue that doesn’t have anything to do with digital violence.
We have reached out to Sanders’ campaign for comment on his stance on gaming unions and will update this story if we get a response.