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

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
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

log in or register to remove this ad

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
That was on Roll20. But I think Pathfinder still is 2nd by a country mile based on most other numbers we have.

I know, I just can't find another source that shows PF is number 2 in 2020 (though again, this wouldn't surprise me).

I know, I just can't find another source that shows PF is number 2 in 2020 (though again, this wouldn't surprise me).
I could link you to the thread, but it's almost 70 pages long with very long discussions within it. But suffice to say the big thing that came out of it was that the Amazon rank of PF2 is generally better than any other RPG outside of D&D, which is basically its own category at this point. Everything else gets lumped into Toys and such.


Relaxed Intensity
Here are the last 3 icv2 reports

Cyberpunk has picked up the #2 spot in the latest report, but I expect that Pathfinder will regain position in the next one. Not that it matters all that much in assessing the health of the business. We're dealing with a phenomenally better market than in 2008. I would not be shocked if raw sales number were better today than at the height of Pathfinder's success during the previous era.

Not that this game measuring contest fundamentally means anything or has much bearing on the union which I would applaud regardless of my status as a fan. I would much rather keep the focus of discussion on the union. I think it speaks volumes that the game's lead designer of part of this effort.

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
ICV2 monitor the game market : This looks like the latest report : ICV2 Spring 2021

Now this is better... looking at the past 3 of these I can find, Pathfinder was number 2 in both Fall and Spring of 2020. It fell to 3 in Spring of 2021.

Cyperpunk was 5 in Spring 2020, 3 in Fall 2020, and took 2 from PF in Spring 2021.

Not full yearly sales of course, but interesting rankings.



I don't think this is going to work out the way the "unionizers" think it's going to work out. I predict if it happens, then Paizo release schedules will be re-jiggered to be a lot less per year, and probably of random quality; some will be great, some horrible, some in the middle. Then the lay-offs, decline, and ultimate selling of the company/IP's or bankruptcy.

I hope I'm wrong though! I like having Paizo around, even if I don't really play their games much any more. I am a fan of Golarion though! Used it for a couple different "mini-shots" (3 to 5 sessions) for various game systems (5e, BECMI, Powers & Perils, Hackmaster 4th). Golarion kinda gives me a bit of a Greyhawk vibe, to be honest... lots "potentially" going on, but easily ignored and lots of wiggle-room for a DM to just make schtuff up. :)


Paul L. Ming

"Demands included Paizo fill an HR position that was allowed to sit vacant and leave Paizo without HR for months; that non-warehouse staff be permitted to continue working from home during the pandemic, and that all non-warehouse staff are afforded the option to work remotely from outside Washington if they choose; that Paizo be fully transparent about all salary information; and that Paizo bring a full-time diversity consultant onto staff."

I don't know the ends and outs, but I do know it's hard as heck to hire anyone right now. Our company has been trying to hire HR help for ever and it's not easy.

The work from home debate is going to crop up a lot of places.

I can see the difficulty in having staff spread all over the world. But I get why people would want Seattle wages and a home in the Midwest or South America.


Not your screen monkey (he/him)
I can see the difficulty in having staff spread all over the world. But I get why people would want Seattle wages and a home in the Midwest or South America.
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.


Is it normal to have such a niche union in the US? (ie, for a single company)
No. Unions benefit from strength in numbers of both members and the companies they work for in an industry. Limiting yourself to the workers of one company is... unusual. Maybe they plan on expanding their unionization efforts if they succeed at Paizo, but I don't think this is an industry with the profit margins and worker numbers to make that viable. Should be interesting to see what happens with it.


Game Designer
The question of salary is not easy. Sometimes employers want to increase salaries, but can't without hindering the lifeline of the company (in startups and generally smaller companies). I wonder if the low salaries at Paizo are due to low margins or money being held at the top.

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

An Advertisement