Update: The Union was Recognized! Noble Knight Games employees Unionize.

darjr

I crit!
Saw this via the Designers & Dragons fb page.

From ICv2

Employees at a large brick-and-mortar and online hobby games retailer have formed a union affiliated with the Communications Workers of America

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The Cap Times gives us an employee count.

The union would cover upwards of 90% of the company’s roughly 75 employees, an unnamed representative of the bargaining committee said in an email.

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From @billd91



!!! @NKGames has done what 95% of privately-owned companies fail to do: they have voluntarily recognized their workers' union! Our amazing coworkers, with the support of @CWAUnion, @LaborSCFL, @AFLCIO, and ALL OF YOU, have achieved this! #WeRollTogether
 
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darjr

I crit!
Plot twist, there are only 3 employees, and one is the owner.
I think there are 13 full time employees not counting managers? But I think that’s just their main retail store. I’m not sure if there are more or how many but I think there are more.

Small company for sure but they have an outsized influence.
 

Mad_Jack

Hero
I think there are 13 full time employees not counting managers? But I think that’s just their main retail store. I’m not sure if there are more or how many but I think there are more.

Small company for sure but they have an outsized influence.

Not sure how many retail/warehouse employees they have in their one physical location, but I'm pretty sure their online sales dept. and management is maybe five or six people total. Last time I emailed them awhile back it took them about four days to get back to me because their entire office staff had gotten hit with Covid.
 

darjr

I crit!
Not sure how many retail/warehouse employees they have in their one physical location, but I'm pretty sure their online sales dept. and management is maybe five or six people total. Last time I emailed them awhile back it took them about four days to get back to me because their entire office staff had gotten hit with Covid.
Oof!

Thanks for that.

I know it’s a small company but again their influence in the hobby and industry outweighs their size.
 


Mad_Jack

Hero
I'm not sure how busy their physical store gets, but they could probably run it with about five or six employees including a manager. And even though their online business is the much greater part of their operation, it's all games and smaller items, so you'd only really need maybe two or three people handling online sales/generating paperwork, one warehouse manager, maybe an inventory guy, three or four order pickers, and a couple of shipping guys.
I've worked in warehouse and shipping most of my life, and for small-item stuff like that, a small crew can move a lot of product out the door surprisingly quickly.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
I'm not sure how busy their physical store gets, but they could probably run it with about five or six employees including a manager. And even though their online business is the much greater part of their operation, it's all games and smaller items, so you'd only really need maybe two or three people handling online sales/generating paperwork, one warehouse manager, maybe an inventory guy, three or four order pickers, and a couple of shipping guys.
I've worked in warehouse and shipping most of my life, and for small-item stuff like that, a small crew can move a lot of product out the door surprisingly quickly.
There's a lot more people working there than that. They've got 7 different job descriptions and have been growing steadily since 2016 when someone I know started working there.
Edit: One of our local newspapers reports about 75 employees.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)

If successful, I'll amble over and buy something relatively extravagant to celebrate their union.
And maybe I will finally be able to get my daughter to put in an application to work there...
 

darjr

I crit!

If successful, I'll amble over and buy something relatively extravagant to celebrate their union.
And maybe I will finally be able to get my daughter to put in an application to work there...
Thank you for that!
 


Mad_Jack

Hero
There's a lot more people working there than that. They've got 7 different job descriptions and have been growing steadily since 2016 when someone I know started working there.
Edit: One of our local newspapers reports about 75 employees.

Ahh... They're obviously doing a lot more business than I thought. Do they run multiple shifts in their warehouse?
 

RivetGeekWil

Lead developer Tribes in the Dark
They have 21 employees on LinkedIn and that isn't going be all of them. Glassdoor lists them as under 50 employees. There's no minimum to unionize but 30% have to perform for the union for the NLRB to conduct an election.
 



If the employees at a small business like that feel the need to have a Union, then things must be pretty crappy behind the scenes, no matter how nice it may seem to the customer.

I was going to make a comment that this wasn't necessarily the case. There are a number of reasons why the workers may want to unionize. Bad working conditions is a big one, but not the only one.

But then this...


If the company is refusing to recognize the union, well, that's not a good sign.
 



I've always had great experiences buying from Noble Knight. To hear this is discouraging.

I was going to make a comment that this wasn't necessarily the case. There are a number of reasons why the workers may want to unionize. Bad working conditions is a big one, but not the only one.

But then this...



If the company is refusing to recognize the union, well, that's not a good sign.
 

GreyLord

Legend
I was going to make a comment that this wasn't necessarily the case. There are a number of reasons why the workers may want to unionize. Bad working conditions is a big one, but not the only one.

But then this...



If the company is refusing to recognize the union, well, that's not a good sign.

Not necessarily.

Grocery store workers in the majority of the US are not unionized (they are in California I believe), but that doesn't necessarily reflect bad working conditions (at least in relation to the US). [Yes, I realize NK is NOT a grocer, this is an example of retail work in the US]

IT CAN reflect what their target employees are in some cases (younger individuals or those looking for additional income in some places, others have varying pay depending on the position with some positions specfically focused for some of those types of employees with the expectations those positions will not really buy the healthcare or other items).

Some of it may be part time work where the default is expected that one can schedule times to not work if they wish and don't have to go in as much so the company feels they don't need the days off like a full-time worker.

With that said, most grocery stores probably would also flat out refuse to recognize a union in the United States, especially if they feel that union is trying to demand things that are not useful to the business (for example, trying to force the above part time workers to be given 2 weeks vacation fully paid, getting a healthcare plan that is affordable for those part time workers to afford on part time pay, and paying filler positions high wages).

A forced union will force the business to recognize and deal with those issues. In some instances that can be beneficial (happy workers make a company a better place to work and can help the business actually do better), but there are some where it may be bad for many workers (company cannot afford to pay the demands thus will simply cut those jobs that will require them to give these benefits but are not worth paying those benefits. It may seem to make some happy on that, but for part timers [which a majority may be at Noble Knight...it indicates in the thread that they have around 15 full timers, which would mean they have around 60 part-timers] that could mean that they no longer have to worry because they have no job period).

This is not particularly specific to Grocery Stores, but can be applied to many various retail outlets in the US. Obviously, the US is different than other nations in this area. In some nations in Europe there are very LOW union participation rates (such as France) but this is countered by Strong Government regulations (which are lacking in the US) which afford most workers rights which the US lacks. Just like the above, in some instances this is a good thing, in others it is bad.

It should be noted though that the US GDP dwarfs most European nations. California may have better laws in regards to unionization and employment regulation, but it pales in comparison to most nations in Europe (which in turn are regulated in part by EU statutes). California, a mere state, has an economy that is on the verge of bypassing one of Europe's strongest economies (Germany). The states in the US have many which surpass the national GDP of other nations.

I generally support Unions, but there are times when I wonder if it is the best choice (and perhaps it is in the US with the lack of employee protections, lack of free education past basic levels, and lack of universal healthcare which puts the onus of healthcare payment options on job opportunity instead of equal application to everyone), especially in relation to jobs that were created specifically as side work rather than full time work.
 

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