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...

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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That’s assuming Paizo is paying competitive Seattle wages. People have posted about substantial pay cuts to work for Paizo, pay that doesn’t quite match Madison, WI wages, and I’ll bet housing is cheaper here.

I know one of the consistent themes was that working for Paizo was billed as a reward unto itself, thus the pay was not as good.

True, but they didn't mention any affiliation with larger labor unions (or did they and I missed it?). Experience in union organization would be helpful. I'm not sure if any of them have that experience (beyond membership in a union anyway). As I said, it will be interesting to "see" what goes on. This proto union seems intent on gathering support among Paizo's customer base so I'm sure we'll see their side of it. Paizo itself will be more opaque. No telling what their sales and profit margins are like, how the money is spent etc.

I don't think it is noted on Twitter, but has been noted by multiple articles that they are getting assistance from the Communications Workers of America.

Thats not really surprising. Because Paizo championed LGBT in their products people actively supporting LGBT apply a much higher standard to Paizo than to other companies.
Thus a single misstep from Paizo provokes a huge backlash from those vocal groups while companies which do not care at all about LGBT at all get away with it as no one expects them to support LGBT.

In the worst case LGBT activists harm their own cause with that in the case when pro LGBT companies need to shut down or are bought up because of the negative backlash leaving only companies which are neutral or worse towards LGBT.

When you take advantage of being a leader, you get called out for not living up to the standard you set. The thing here is that it seems like the staff are not happy that the company isn't living up to that standard, either.

Oh, it was more than just a Nyarlathotep anime. It was a Nyarlathotep as a schoolgirl crushing on the protagonist anime. ;)


Back to unions...

In the first episode, there's a shot of someone crossing off San boxes, and I was going to gif it for another thread, but I just wasn't into doing the work of tracking the series down and making the thing myself.

Pay and benefits aren't the only things they can get out of a union. It may give them grievance procedures with more teeth.

Exactly. It's not just pay, but also the ability to challenge terminations they might not like. For example, the termination that to this whole thing.
 

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That’s assuming Paizo is paying competitive Seattle wages. People have posted about substantial pay cuts to work for Paizo, pay that doesn’t quite match Madison, WI wages, and I’ll bet housing is cheaper here.
As someone who is temporarily relocated to Seattle I can attest to the fact that housing is quite expensive. At least in terms of my Midwest perspective
 



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Hero
When you take advantage of being a leader, you get called out for not living up to the standard you set. The thing here is that it seems like the staff are not happy that the company isn't living up to that standard, either.
As far as I understand the current complaints started with a LGBT issue about a trans employee not being allowed to room with a cis employee and thus couldn't go to conventions (as Paizo mandates double occupancy for hotel rooms). But once there was an initial complaint some flood breaks broke down and all kinds of complaints where thrown around from the ones about ignored complaints, that the office was not cleaned to the downright conspiracy theories about nazi memberships of employees based on far fetched connections to pictures on that employees wall.

In the end I just wanted to point out that this behaviour of having higher standards for active supporters is not uncommon, but in the worst case they hurt exactly the wrong people, so any attacks/complaints have to be measured to not backfire.

And I am pretty sure that without the recent complaints the employees would not have tried this union experiment.
 
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As far as I understand the current complaints started with a LGBT issue about a trans employee not being allowed to room with a cis employee and thus couldn't go to conventions (as Paizo mandates double occupancy for hotel rooms). But once there was an initial complaint some flood breaks broke down and all kinds of complaints where thrown around from the ones about ignored complaints, that the office was not cleaned to the downright conspiracy theories about nazi memberships of employees based on far fetched connections to pictures on that employees wall.

In the end I just wanted to point out that this behaviour of having higher standards for active supporters is not uncommon, but in the worst case they hurt exactly the wrong people, so any attacks/complaints have to be measured to not backfire.

And I am pretty sure that without the recent complaints the employees would not have tried this union experiment.
I think it started when they fired two staff members without cause. The unionization press release, meanwhile, speaks of pay inequity and differential hiring practices in addition to a culture of harassment from senior management.

The way I see it, companies put out statements of values as part of their brand-creation. The audience for this are consumers and also potential employees. So if they don't back up those statements, they will be seen as hypocrites, and maybe some people will not want to work for them or buy their products. But this is different, and a lot weaker, from actually-enforced labor regulations and law. Forming a union means that if basic violations of workers' rights happen, you don't need to resort to behind the scenes gossip and twitter threads leading to consumer accountability, you can file a grievance, go on a strike, and come to the bargaining table with actual leverage. (at least in theory).
 

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