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


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Lazvon

Explorer
Sooooo… I need more data to figure how supportive I am of the unionization…

Is there evidence of extreme profit margins? Does the owner(s) drive new $120k+ cars, changing pretty often? Massive $2m+ house? Have crazy mahogany office setup?
 



Sooooo… I need more data to figure how supportive I am of the unionization…

Is there evidence of extreme profit margins? Does the owner(s) drive new $120k+ cars, changing pretty often? Massive $2m+ house? Have crazy mahogany office setup?
Profit margins is probably the key question (though it's up to the workers and not either of us, of course). I can definitely see wanting Bezos to cough up a few of Amazon's billions, but it's possible Noble Knight might just go under.

You can try to support worker-owned cooperatives (Mondragon in Spain comes to mind), but I don't know if that exists in the gaming industry, which after all has a nonessential product and usually thin margins.
 

Lazvon

Explorer
the gaming industry, which after all has a nonessential product and usually thin margins.

Exactly my thoughts. I can’t work in my hobby and live the lifestyle I desire - so I don’t.

I am thankful folks sacrifice for this hobby - but I have to assume a large chunk of working in this hobby industry do so for the satisfaction that comes with it. Much the same as many “starving artists”…

Again, I might be very supportive of NKG becoming unionized if there is clearly a profit margin there to support higher wages, working conditions, and better benefits. If there isn’t, then my view is - hey, at least you get paid (however little) to work in an industry that I hope you find fulfilling in other ways. Generally, could the workers cut back to 20-hours a week, taking (I assume) product discounts, getting “dibs” on new (or “used” as NKG) shipments… and then finding a union job at your manufacturing industry, or a non-union food/retail/service industry for 40-hours for your primeJob.

Again, if lots of profit (that I have trouble imagining)… absolutely unionize to get a fair wage for 40-hours, overtime above that, healthcare, 401k access, whatever you are seeking…

However, know depending on how profit motivated the owner(s) are, that might lower their profits enough to make them give up and liquidate and find their next profit maker… and then… you’ll be looking for a new job… not in your passion industry.

No idea right answers on this one.
 

MGibster

Legend
Sooooo… I need more data to figure how supportive I am of the unionization…

Is there evidence of extreme profit margins? Does the owner(s) drive new $120k+ cars, changing pretty often? Massive $2m+ house? Have crazy mahogany office setup?
There are considerations other than profit margins and even employee pay that a union might address. A union might negotiate for benefits (medical, dental, vision, etc., etc.), better working conditions, stable work schedules, and job security.
You can try to support worker-owned cooperatives (Mondragon in Spain comes to mind), but I don't know if that exists in the gaming industry, which after all has a nonessential product and usually thin margins.
If a company can only stay in business by paying their employees less than a living wage, maybe they shouldn't be in business. After all, those company's are actually a drain on society because social services often have to step in to assist the employees.

I am thankful folks sacrifice for this hobby - but I have to assume a large chunk of working in this hobby industry do so for the satisfaction that comes with it. Much the same as many “starving artists”…
This reminds me of the joke about the circus employee complaining about having to clean the animals' cages. He friend turns to him and asks why he doesn't quit and he replies, "What, and give up show business?" In this particular case, we're talking about employees of a retail store/warehouse. I'm not sure those folks are in it for the satisfaction of working in the gaming industry.

Generally, could the workers cut back to 20-hours a week, taking (I assume) product discounts, getting “dibs” on new (or “used” as NKG) shipments… and then finding a union job at your manufacturing industry, or a non-union food/retail/service industry for 40-hours for your primeJob.
Cutting people down to 20 hours a week means they won't qualify for benefits. Under the Affordable Care Act, it means their employer doesn't have to offer them any medical benefits. Product discounts and getting "dibs" on shipments doesn't put food on the table to feed their children. People shouldn't have to hold down multiple jobs just to make ends meet.

Again, if lots of profit (that I have trouble imagining)… absolutely unionize to get a fair wage for 40-hours, overtime above that, healthcare, 401k access, whatever you are seeking…
The Fair Labor and Standards Act is a federal law that requires employers to pay their hourly employees overtime when they work more than 40 hours a week. The union could negotiate a higher overtime rate, but generally speaking they don't need to because overtime is enshrined in law.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
There are considerations other than profit margins and even employee pay that a union might address. A union might negotiate for benefits (medical, dental, vision, etc., etc.), better working conditions, stable work schedules, and job security.

This is incredibly important.

A union does not negotiate over wages, or even wages and benefits, but over the terms and conditions of employment. Things that people might take for granted if they are in a white collar or professional job ... not so much in other industries.

Bathroom breaks? That's an issue. Or you might be familiar with the recent rail issue we had ... most of the coverage was about the possible supply chain disruption. But the union wasn't interested in higher wages- the reason for the action was because ... and this might shock you ... because the workers in question were required to be "on call" 90% of the time. They had no sick days (either paid or unpaid). They could not take time off for funerals (!!!) that were not ... planned well in advance (!!!????!!!!!!).

These things matter to people. I hope that the workers at Noble Knight Games succeed given that they have expressed their preference, and if the employer chooses to use union-busting tactics against the union as opposed to allowing a fair vote to happen ... I will make sure to never allow a dollar of my money go to anything sold by them.
 

eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
I emailed them and let them know that as somebody who has spent thousands upon thousands of dollars with them with my account there that I would not be shopping there anymore until their workers unionize. And that was before they hired union busters. Now I'm of a mind to never shop there again. Disgusting.

You have nothing to lose but your chains
 

Lazvon

Explorer
There are considerations other than profit margins and even employee pay that a union might address. A union might negotiate for benefits (medical, dental, vision, etc., etc.), better working conditions, stable work schedules, and job security.
Um. Those eat into profits, thus calling into question viability of the company. Hence why Union or not in my mind, means so much.

Cutting people down to 20 hours a week means they won't qualify for benefits.
Didn’t say that. Folks who want benefits of union, even if potentially means the company shuts down, should ask for part time work so they can go get their monetary and other benefits net. Again, if the company is profitable enough - absolutely provide for these things directly to the employees. If not, and the employee wants the discounts/industry “experience” or whatever drive them to seek employment in this retail/warehouse… then they can either force it to close (not enough profit for owner(s) by unionizing, or figure out how to make it work for themselves to work there.

Fair Labor and Standards Act is a federal law
Yes, 1.5x base rate over 40 unless exempt for that type of job. Holiday/weekend/shift hours if not over 40, all standard rate. Swapping for more hours voluntarily not covered if I remember correctly. All those extra things a Union could help with along with dismissal policies, advancement opportunities, tenure based dismissals, whatever they can dream up that made them feel they needed a union.

Almost every single thing they likely want though, will decrease profits the owner(s) are taking… thus risking the viability of the business for the owner, thus risking closure - and no job. Ummm, win?

Again, don’t know the situation. They have to decide for themselves. I am neither for or against them unionizing without further data as to the impacts to the viability of the business. And I don’t work there anyways so have no voice other than hoping NKG can survive so I can conduct commerce with them. I also wouldn’t work there unless something drastically changes in my life (good - can retire today, or bad - no longer employable in current career).
 

Staffan

Legend
Almost every single thing they likely want though, will decrease profits the owner(s) are taking… thus risking the viability of the business for the owner, thus risking closure - and no job. Ummm, win?
A business that isn't viable while providing decent terms of employment for its workers is not viable, period. It is not reasonable that workers should live in squalor just because someone wants to cosplay as a businessman.
 

Lazvon

Explorer
Bathroom breaks? That's an issue. Or you might be familiar with the recent rail issue we had ... most of the coverage was about the possible supply chain disruption. But the union wasn't interested in higher wages- the reason for the action was because ... and this might shock you ... because the workers in question were required to be "on call" 90% of the time. They had no sick days (either paid or unpaid). They could not take time off for funerals (!!!) that were not ... planned well in advance (!!!????!!!!!!).
Doesn’t all those things impact profitability? Or at least business operations if unpaid leave and can’t get anyone to cover? Or back to profitability and that unpaid time off, that increases someone covering their hours above 40-hours that week and paid 1.5x per hour?

Again, if the company can afford top union busting law firm… I would bet they can cover the union demands… then it just depends on how petty the owner(s) is… is 30% margins enough or is that 33% margin they feel they deserve as the owner that important?

Again, without more data, can only express imaginary counter arguments.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Almost every single thing they likely want though, will decrease profits the owner(s) are taking… thus risking the viability of the business for the owner, thus risking closure - and no job. Ummm, win?

If you unionize, we will close the business and you'll all lose your jobs!
-
Charles Montgomery Plantagenet Schicklgruber "Monty" Burns

Oh, wait, that wasn't Mr. Burns! That was every union buster, every time.

Did you know that corporate profits in the US have been trending upwards from 1951 until today, reaching a record high in 2022? In 2022 Q2, corporate profits in the US were ... wait for it .... wait for it .... 2,522.6 BEEEELLEEEEEON Dollars. And yet ... we have to worry that the corporations might go out of business if workers get bathroom breaks or are allowed to go to funerals?

Sure.
 

Lazvon

Explorer
Did you know that corporate profits in the US have been trending upwards from 1951 until today, reaching a record high in 2022? In 2022 Q2, corporate profits in the US were ... wait for it .... wait for it .... 2,522.6 BEEEELLEEEEEON Dollars.
Absolutely! My retirement at 55 until I die hopefully before 110 and money to spend on hobbies requires it…

Do we think NKG is that profitable? If so, ABSOLUTELY UNIONIZE and ensure the employees get all their needs taken care of!!! I don’t think they are in that bucket, but hopefully wrong.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Did you know that corporate profits in the US have been trending upwards from 1951 until today, reaching a record high in 2022? In 2022 Q2, corporate profits in the US were ... wait for it .... wait for it .... 2,522.6 BEEEELLEEEEEON Dollars. And yet ... we have to worry that the corporations might go out of business if workers get bathroom breaks or are allowed to go to funerals?
Or, heaven forbid, workers might actually share in some of that profit.
And keeping in mind that those record profits are also at a time of high inflation caused by... apparently anything but those record profits.
 



You keep dodging this point - if your business cannot afford to pay its workers a livable wage and treat them like human beings, then your business model sucks and you should go out of business.
In some cases, this may actually leave the people in the area worse off.

We're talking a first world country in the games industry, though.

It's also worth mentioning that even if you could raise taxes on every industry to support a greater welfare state in the aggregate (as most European countries do), raising the costs of one particular business might only drive it out of business. So it's not so clear-cut.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
In some cases, this may actually leave the people in the area worse off.
That's always the excuse used to justify not imposing safeguards to prevent the exploitation of workers. It's ultimately a fear-mongering tactic.
It's also worth mentioning that even if you could raise taxes on every industry to support a greater welfare state in the aggregate (as most European countries do), raising the costs of one particular business might only drive it out of business. So it's not so clear-cut.
Not just European countries. We tax corporate profit too. Eisenhower had some very strong things to say about it back in the 1950s. Our rate is higher than many European countries, but we allow loopholes out the wazoo.
 

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