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Paizo Paizo Workers Unionize

The workers at Paizo, publisher of Pathfinder and Starfinder, have formed the United Paizo Workers union (UPW). The new union speaks of its love for the company, but cites a number of underlying issues including underpay, crunch conditions, and the recent allegations regarding the work environment made by former employee Jessica Price. They also bring up hiring practices, pay inequity, verbal abuse from management, and the covering up of harassment allegations.

The UPW is asking Paizo to recognize the union.

UPW Twitter Header.png


Redmond, WA (October 14th, 2021) — Today, the workers at Paizo, Inc - publisher of the Pathfinder and Starfinder roleplaying games - are announcing their formation of the United Paizo Workers union (UPW), with the Communication Workers of America’s CODE-CWA project. This union is the first of its kind in the tabletop roleplaying games industry.

“Unions have helped build a stronger working class in America and I’m proud to stand with United Paizo Workers. I believe that when we all work together, we’re better for it. Unionization allows workers to have a seat at the table and ensures that our voices and concerns are being heard and addressed so that all of Paizo can move forward for a positive future.” - Shay Snow, Editor

"I love my job. I love my coworkers, and I love the company I work for. I get to sell a game that I love to a community that I love. I come from a pro-union family, and I believe that unionizing Paizo will be the best way to protect the people, company, and community that I love, for now and going forward into the future." - Cosmo Eisele, Sales Manager

“My coworkers are amazing and so are the games we make together. I want Paizo to keep publishing Pathfinder and Starfinder content for years to come. This is my way of helping management improve our company culture, and by extension, the content we produce.” - Jenny Jarzabski, Starfinder Developer

“I proudly stand with my coworkers as we strive to help improve our workplace, and I believe the UPW will amplify our voices and assist with the changes we feel are necessary in making Paizo a more positive space for its employees.” - Logan Harper, Customer Service Representative

Paizo is one of the largest tabletop roleplaying publishers in the world, producing more than 10 hardcover books annually, along with numerous digital adventures and gaming accessories. Paizo also runs some of the most successful living campaigns in tabletop gaming history, with regular players in more than 36 countries. However, despite this success, Paizo’s workers are underpaid for their labor, required to live in one of the most expensive cities in the United States, and subjected to untenable crunch conditions on a regular basis.

Though efforts to organize by the Paizo workforce had already been underway for some time, the sudden departures of several long-standing employees in September and the subsequent allegations of managerial impropriety by former Paizo employees threw into stark relief the imbalance of the employer/employee relationship. These events, as well as internal conversations among Paizo workers, have uncovered 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. These findings have further galvanized the need for clearer policies and stronger employee protections to ensure that Paizo staff can feel secure in their employment.

Changes have been promised, internally and externally, by the executive team. However, the only way to ensure that all workers’ voices are heard is collective action. It is in this spirit that the workers of Paizo have united to push for real changes at the company. The UPW is committed to advocating on behalf of all staffers, and invites all eligible Paizo employees to join in the push for better, more sustainable working conditions. The union requests the broad support of the tabletop community in urging Paizo management to voluntarily recognize the United Paizo Workers, and to negotiate in good faith with the union so that both may build a better workplace together.

For more information, please contact the Organizing Committee at committee@unitedpaizoworkers.org

Raychael Allor, Customer Service Representative

Brian Bauman, Software Architect

Logan Bonner, Pathfinder Lead Designer

Robert Brandenburg, Software Developer

James Case, Pathfinder Game Designer

John Compton, Starfinder Senior Developer

Katina Davis, Webstore Coordinator

David "Cosmo" Eisele, Sales Manager

Heather Fantasia, Customer Service Representative

Eleanor Ferron, Pathfinder Developer

Keith Greer, Customer Service Representative

Logan Harper, Customer Service Representative

Sasha "Mika" Hawkins, Sales and E-Commerce Assistant

Jenny Jarzabski, Starfinder Developer

Erik Keith, Software Test Engineer

Mike Kimmel, Organized Play Line Developer

Avi Kool, Senior Editor

Maryssa Lagervall, Web Content Manager

Luis Loza, Pathfinder Developer

Joe Pasini, Starfinder Lead Designer

Austin Phillips, Customer Service Representative

Lee Rucker, Project Coordinator

Sol St. John, Editor

Michael Sayre, Pathfinder Designer

Shay Snow, Editor

Alex Speidel, Organized Play Coordinator

Levi Steadman, Software Test Engineer

Gary Teter, Senior Software Developer

Josh Thornton, Systems Administrator II

Jake Tondro, Senior Developer

Andrew White, Front End Engineering Lead



In Solidarity:

Thurston Hillman, Digital Adventures Developer
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
To be clear, this appears to be an announcement that they are looking for recognition of a union-

The union requests the broad support of the tabletop community in urging Paizo management to voluntarily recognize the United Paizo Workers, and to negotiate in good faith with the union so that both may build a better workplace together.

Most likely, Paizo will fight this and there will be a vote in the future as to whether or not there is a union.* So, it's more an announcement that Paizo workers have announced a drive to unionize.

Good luck!!!!!!!


*Because this is America, and that's what always happens. Well, almost always.
 
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Blue Orange

Adventurer
When the union's inspiration through the workers' blood shall run,
Our power rolls with advantage everywhere beneath the sun;
Yet going each alone we might as well simply expect to roll a 1,
But the union makes us strong!

Solidarity forever, solidarity forever, solidarity forever, solidarity forever,
For the union makes us strong!
 







wow...


These events, as well as internal conversations among Paizo workers, have uncovered 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. These findings have further galvanized the need for clearer policies and stronger employee protections to ensure that Paizo staff can feel secure in their employment.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Look for the union label, when you are buying a coat, hat, or Adventure Path.
You know that somewhere our union's sewing, our wages going to feed our kids, and run Pathfinder.
We work hard, but who's complaining? Thanks to the UPW, we're paying our way!
So always look for the union label, it says we're able to make it in the U.S.A.!

(apologies to the ILGWU and their classic ads from the late 1970s/early 1980s)
 


ruemere

Adventurer
(rant warning)

Presence of a formally recognized union serves to balance interests of various parties - it's not that the management has bad intentions, or that the union reps are perfect - it's just that management role is naturally dominant in a work environment. After all, they are the management.
The long term effect of being in a dominant position is almost always subtle corruption of those in power - and then additional minutes become afterhours, individual cries fall on deaf ears, people lose themselves in race against deadlines, and suddenly there are health problems, stressed individuals taking out their frustration on others, human mistakes and a cascading avalanche of pain.

So, kudos to people organizing themselves. It's time for Paizo environment to regain balance*

* To me, the sacred cows of Pathfinder 1 and overbearing oppressive mechanics of Pathfinder 2 are symptoms of a vision of a few charismatic individuals drowning innovation and freedom of modern systems - quite typical result of dominated work environment. I left Pathfinder behind a few years ago, but still hope to return.
 



TheSword

Legend
This is actually pretty sad. Not because of collective labour organization per se… in industry’s where it’s got so bad it can be a good thing up to a point.

Rather it’s sad because Paizo have brought this on themselves. If people felt so strongly to go to all this trouble then Paizo’s employee relations must really have broken down. I suspect they will bitterly regret not giving it more attention when the practical reality of how this begins to affect the business bites.

[Edit: Removed my experience of unions in general]
 
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