Paizo Paizo Freelancers Support Union

Jason Tondro, senior developer for Pathfinder and Starfinder, has indicated that a large swathe of Paizo freelancers have stopped work in support of the recently formed union by Paizo employees.

Initially the freelance group had a range of demands, but in light of the new union, they have put forward one single new demand instead: to recognize the union.

t2awc1-x_400x400.jpg


Today I want to shine a spotlight on UPW’s secret weapon: freelancers. Paizo’s freelancers are our ally in this fight and we’re helping each other. Here’s how:

Paizo’s business model is built on freelancers. Very few of the words in our publications are written in-house by full time employees on the clock. Instead, we outline projects, hire freelancers to execute those outlines, and develop and edit those manuscripts.

This allows a relatively small number of people (about 35, including art directors, editors, designers, developers, and more) to produce, well, everything. Have you seen our publication schedule lately? It’s LONG. And Paizo must publish new books to pay its bills.

Well, about a month ago, about 40 of Paizo’s most reliable, prolific, and skilled freelancers simply stopped working. In official parlance, this is called “concerted action.” In layman’s terms, it’s a strike without a union.

Some of these freelancers were in the middle of projects, with upcoming deadlines. Some of them had completed manuscripts they refused to turn over. Some were people we need to hire, to get scheduled books underway in time to publish. All of that FROZE.

Folks, Paizo can’t operate in that environment. We can’t just assign 10,000 word Org Play scenarios, 35,000 word SF adventures, 50,000 word P2 adventures to new, untested freelancers. And for many projects, it’s too late in the schedule to do that anyway.

Now, this group of freelancers had a specific list of demands. They wanted Paizo to hire a diversity officer, for example, and investigate recent terminations. But yesterday, they updated their demands: they’ll all come back to work if Paizo recognizes United Paizo Workers.

This is an enormous lever, and we at UPW are incredibly grateful to have it. Paizo can’t make its publication schedule without freelancers, and it can’t pay exec salaries without publications. But if they recognize our union, freelancers come back to work TOMORROW.

Sure, yes, contract negotiations will be long and trying for all involved. But Paizo will still get books out the door, it’ll be able to make its commitments and pay its bills and salaries. And during contract negotiation, we, the people who hire freelancers, can pay back.

In contract negotiation, we can fight for better pay rates for freelancers. We can get more time in the schedule, so writers have time to do their job right. We can get playtesting built into these schedules, which not only helps freelancers but creates better books.

Paizo’s freelancers and United Paizo Workers are working hand in hand. And I am so grateful, honored, and humbled to have that partnership.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

I’m also not denying that the things I list above happened. I just don’t think they are on the same scale as at Paizo. Not all employees at WOC do need to make a stand… but how about 2 or 3? Or how about 2 or 3 ex staff. Basically anyone who actually is an employee of WOC or used to be an employee of WOC?

It's a lot more difficult when the corporation is substantially bigger and more powerful. Again, I keep pointing to very draconian social media policies and why people would not want to have a corporation with a long memory on their bad side.

And agree to disagree on scale, because the Orion Black thing is, in my opinion, as bad as most any other thing out there.

Im surprised that you’re surprised that a game that was until recently was almost entirely played by white men has a greater proportion than normal of white men working in its industry. The whole point of Candlekeep Adventures was to get new voices from a range of viewpoints. I’m seeing more women front and center and that’s got to be a good thing.

I'm not surprised by it, I'm surprised you don't think that carries with it a lot of baggage, not the least of which habits that come from only being in spaces with white men. Candlekeep Adventures is a great example of an attempt that had problems because editorial edited down something poorly and inserted stuff that they didn't realize was insensitive.

Actually, this feels very reminiscent of Paizo, where it looks like the lower level people are more responsive, but when it goes up the editing chain and bad things happen. I might look it up later, but there was an interesting comment about editorial having a certain conception of D&D, and while it's probably not overtly racist or anything, it almost certainly has a bunch of stuff that if they were consulting with POCs probably would probably not fly.

WOC do set the tone. I just don’t see any example from WOC that racism or discrimination will be tolerated. In fact everything they have released recently suggests they think the opposite and are listening.

I mean, it seems clear that they are pretty passive about with the MTG Community. The stuff Zaiem talked about eventually got changed, but how long did it take? Are more people getting hired for these spots? I think Austin Walker had a really good quote that works well in these sorts of situations (in general):


You can assume the absence of evidence is proof of a cover up if you like. It’s doesn’t sit well with me.

No, I'm citing evidence. Those testimonials are absolutely evidence. What you take offense to is that I believe there is more there. To me, it seems logical: there's every indication that there's probably more stuff we just haven't heard about. And a lot of this comes from the Paizo situation.

Paizo is incredibly progressive and it shows in their work. Their Mwangi Expanse stuff was just fantastic, they are great on representation and trying to avoid classic bad tropes when it comes to this stuff. They may not always do it, but certain Wizards seems to get caught way more in that regard. And look what Paizo had going on behind the scenes.

So given that there's just a bevy of small (and a few big things) out about Wizards... why wouldn't I believe there is more? We're talking about a company where where 16 months ago had stacking scandals regarding how they minority community members get treated and also a minority team member who let loose on his terrible situation. Why would I expect that to be the only thing there?

I can't chastise Wizards for stuff I don't know has or hasn't happened, but I don't see why I should think they are all that they are particularly clean. Given how slowly they've been to change, it's hard to think that everything we heard about got turned around in just a year.

Edit: As an aside, I do find it funny when I look up how Orion Black's departure was handled here and the first comment is all the recent scandals, big or little, that Wizards was going through since 2019.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

TheSword

Legend
So given that there's just a bevy of small (and a few big things) out about Wizards... why wouldn't I believe there is more? We're talking about a company where where 16 months ago had stacking scandals regarding how they minority community members get treated and also a minority team member who let loose on his terrible situation. Why would I expect that to be the only thing there?
I think you give far far too much credit to the supposed power of businesses like WOC. You can take things on faith if you like. I prefer to wait rather than make suppositions when it comes to serious accusations. Time will tell at the end of the day. 🤷🏻‍♂️ Maybe I just have more optimism in people.
 

I think you give far far too much credit to the supposed power of businesses like WOC. You can take things on faith if you like. I prefer to wait rather than make suppositions when it comes to serious accusations. Time will tell at the end of the day. 🤷🏻‍♂️ Maybe I just have more optimism in people.

When one of the people who comes out comments on how the company keeps people in fear of saying the wrong thing, it feels more believable. I mean, when's the last time you saw Mike Mearls?

I'm glad you have optimism. I do, too, but I try to keep it to individual people, rather than institutions. Less disappointing.
 

TheSword

Legend
When one of the people who comes out comments on how the company keeps people in fear of saying the wrong thing, it feels more believable. I mean, when's the last time you saw Mike Mearls?

I'm glad you have optimism. I do, too, but I try to keep it to individual people, rather than institutions. Less disappointing.
I’m confused, are you sad Mike Mearls has been benched and simultaneously angry he hasn’t been sacked? You can’t have your cake and eat it.

WOC took action when Mearls inappropriately defended someone you called a serial harasser. You think that is evidence of a social media conspiracy but not evidence that WOC it takes accusations of harassment seriously?

It kinda sounds like you have a downer on WOC and will spin anything to be a negative 🤷🏻‍♂️
 

I’m confused, are you sad Mike Mearls has been benched and simultaneously angry he hasn’t been sacked? You can’t have your cake and eat it.

WOC took action when Mearls inappropriately defended someone you called a serial harasser. You think that is evidence of a social media conspiracy but not evidence that WOC it takes accusations of harassment seriously?

No, maybe my phrasing was a bit imprecise. It's more like showing off a company focused on superficial solutions (getting Mearls offline but still in the company) while being able to completely control the narrative with their presence in the industry: if you want to comment on that situation, do you think they'll hire you? If you liked a take on it? Retweeted something about it?

I'd say no. And that's why I think there's probably more, but also why we are unlikely to hear about it.

It kinda sounds like you have a downer on WOC and will spin anything to be a negative 🤷🏻‍♂️

LOL! I missed this edit.

And nah, I try not to be down on everything. Fizban's looks good, though don't think I'll be purchasing it. Tasha's looked alright, too. But I don't see a reason to gloss over WOTC's flaws, any more than I would gloss over what's happening with Paizo as a PF2 fan. Stuff doesn't disappear just because people stopped talking about it.

That's just what they want you to think. ;)
 
Last edited:

Staffan

Legend
Actually, this feels very reminiscent of Paizo, where it looks like the lower level people are more responsive, but when it goes up the editing chain and bad things happen. I might look it up later, but there was an interesting comment about editorial having a certain conception of D&D, and while it's probably not overtly racist or anything, it almost certainly has a bunch of stuff that if they were consulting with POCs probably would probably not fly.
I get a feeling that the higher-ups at both Paizo and Wizards would believe both the statements "We should be a more diverse company" and "I worked hard to get where I am, dammit, and I'm not going to budge."
 

Remove ads

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top