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Ex-NOA head Reggie Fils-Aime is neither for or against unions. Believes they are a symptom of a bigger problem.

Eddie-Griffin

Gold Member
https://www.thegamer.com/nintendo-reggie-fils-aime-neither-for-nor-against-unionization/
In a new interview with CNET (via GameSpot), Reggie Fils-Aime said he understands why employees are looking to unionize and that he’s neither pro nor anti-union. He sees unionization as more of a symptom of a problem at companies where employees feel they have low job security, little chance of promotion, and no recognition for the work they do.

"Specifically within gaming, you see that when a workforce that doesn't have a stable work schedule, or they feel they are not being paid adequately, or they are being forced to relocate, and their relocation expenses aren't being reimbursed," explained Reggie, "these are the behaviors that have given rise to a push for unionization at different developers in different situations."

And there are loads of developers that are looking to unionize. Of course, Raven Software’s QA team successfully unionized earlier this year after being relocated to a new office where half its workforce was summarily terminated. Blizzard Albany is looking to follow suit and is suffering under as intense an anti-union push from Activision Blizzard as Raven did. Ubisoft is another big developer where employees are looking to grow their unions outside of France.

"I am neither for nor against unionization," Reggie stated. "I think unionization is an output that happens when [worker needs] aren't being fulfilled."

Reggie is of course not working for NOA anymore so he is more free to say these things, but given the conversation and emotions over unionizing and the union busting backlash that's been escalating this is a very controversial position.

I do agree with Reggie that in certain cases Unionization may not necessarily be the silver triangle, but the companies in the spotlight of recent conversations wouldn't be those companies, and all of which have been slick in how they're finding ways to bust unions. At the same time, I also don't want to give certain developers, staff, or leadership a safety net protecting them from consequences of failure, incompetence, or badly running a company.
 

Nautilus

Member
Unions are cancer.History has proven that time and time again.

Having said that, I agree with Reggie. Most people wouldn't join a union, as they wouldn't join anything, without feeling that they can gain something out of it. If the workers were satisfied with their job/pay/whatever, there wouldn't be a need in the first place. So this is more of a matter of companies needing to be smarter and rewarding their *best* workers properly, and having feasable compensations for everyone if they do their job right.
 

Punished Miku

Gold Member
Lol what are you talking about. Unions deliver better pay and working conditions for their members and once a critical mass of workers in a given sector are unionized those benefits spill out into the broader economy. Any worker who hates unions is a cuck of the highest order
Yeah right, everyone knows workers get better conditions when they're entirely expendable and have zero bargaining power. duh!
 

Foilz

Member
Anyone against unions in general is a complete moron. I've worked non union for 14 years and have now been in a union for 3 months. It's a complete game changer.

Unionizing gives the workers power and It cuts back on corporate greed. With that said I believe everyone should have the choice whether or not to join a union.
 
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PhaseJump

Member
Unions are typically bureaucratic parasites that protect the incompetent, and siphon corporations, their member's earnings, all to perpetuate gate keeping and inefficiency.

They aren't always the old time blue collar folk hero social justice groups, out there looking out for the little guy. A ton of them are full of corrupt assholes always looking to be greased by handouts.
 

Nautilus

Member
Lol what are you talking about. Unions deliver better pay and working conditions for their members and once a critical mass of workers in a given sector are unionized those benefits spill out into the broader economy. Any worker who hates unions is a cuck of the highest order
I feel like you either don't live in a country where there are unions, or that the one you do that have unions is a first world country where life is still good even when going through rough times.

I don't live in a first world country, and my country has unions. And if you ask any worker that lives here, 95% of them will not only answer that unions do jack shit for them, but they also demand a "tax" for you to pay them that was obligatory until a few years ago(and once it became opcional, 97% of the workers stopped paying them, effectively waving their rights to whatever the union does for them, and never looked back).

The problem is that, at least in my experience, the unions hardly do something positive for the worker, and all they do are riots that not only make the worker look bad, because they end up being forced to join it(as the unions prohibits by force if necessary entrance to the workplace), and make them look like slackers or something like that, but most of the time(in my country) they get up in arms over things that don't even improve working conditions for the workers in general, and just comes up with more unnecessary fluff that makes hiring people more expensive(and thus, its bad for the company, and bad for anyone wanting to work there).

This topic is more complicated than this, obviously, but that gets the gist of what I mean.

What Reggie means, and I agree with him, is that being more generous about rewarding your workers and having a better work life balance is just a good bussiness move. Keeping workers happy will avoid losing talent, and they will probably work better and harder, and also avoid them comming up with stuff like unions, that just increases the paperwork and ammount of money that companies spend on a single worker, either to maintain them, or to hire more(and not on things like higher wages, but actually on the eventualities of riots, paralisations, or the burocracy of hiring/firing someone)
 

Nautilus

Member
Unions are typically bureaucratic parasites that protect the incompetent, and siphon corporations, their member's earnings, all to perpetuate gate keeping and inefficiency.

They aren't always the old time blue collar folk hero social justice groups, out there looking out for the little guy. A ton of them are full of corrupt assholes always looking to be greased by handouts.
This. Firing someone doesn't always mean that you are cutting costs to maximize profits. Sometimes someone simply sucks at their work, or its a bad fit for the company culture. With unions and laws that give them almost divine powers, firing someone either makes them too expensive to fire, or too dangerous, as the union may simply decide that the owner of the company can't fire his own damn employee and paralises all activities on a game.And that can be fatal for the company, which prevents the company from firing people. That ends up resulting in a worse game, as that same employee, that should have been fired for not being a proper fit for the job, continues there and doesn't do the job properly.

And that's just one example of the problems with unions. Honestly, the best weapon that anyone has against a bad boss is competition, quitting their jobs and going somewhere else.
 
The industry wants union because of many times, the suits NEVER face responsability for their mistakes, only the devs end jobless

It’s inevitable the industry is going to end in Unions, but like many things in the industry, people dont think in the Long term

Sure a Union is going to give job security, if the studio is still arround, but the lifespan of studio in the industry is not so good, so when a studio is clased, all those devs are going to discover nobody is going to give them a job, because they were part of a union, and that make them look like terrible enployees

Anybody on this forum who deal with Unions know exactly what i am talking about
 
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This. Firing someone doesn't always mean that you are cutting costs to maximize profits. Sometimes someone simply sucks at their work, or its a bad fit for the company culture. With unions and laws that give them almost divine powers, firing someone either makes them too expensive to fire, or too dangerous, as the union may simply decide that the owner of the company can't fire his own damn employee and paralises all activities on a game.And that can be fatal for the company, which prevents the company from firing people. That ends up resulting in a worse game, as that same employee, that should have been fired for not being a proper fit for the job, continues there and doesn't do the job properly.

And that's just one example of the problems with unions. Honestly, the best weapon that anyone has against a bad boss is competition, quitting their jobs and going somewhere else.
Even if/when said competition is no better?
 
 

Crayon

Member
Unions are why you get people who know what they are doing building your house. Otherwise you'd be depending on an inspector to check over a house full of scab work.
 

Nautilus

Member
He says he is not pro nor anti unions. And is clear by his statements, that he doesn't know shit either. Not even developers know shit.
Oh, and how come you are sure about this and not Reggie, who has worked for more than 3 decades as the top brass in several industries?
 

CamHostage

Member
That's a good way of describing it. Unions are a tool for dealing with the challenges of maintaining a workforce, but it's not a one-size-fits-all tool, and really if there's that serious of a problem, you're going to have to really understand what's going on and what to do about it because no amount of basic hammering or wrenching with one tool will solve a problem you don't understand the cause of.
 
He says he is not pro nor anti unions. And is clear by his statements, that he doesn't know shit either. Not even developers know shit.
He knows more about crunch then you, thats a fact because we worked on the industry for many years, and because he worked his ass off too working 12-16 hours a day

People who compain about crunch dont really understand why it happen and why is really Hard to avoid, game development is so volatile
 
Oh, and how come you are sure about this and not Reggie, who has worked for more than 3 decades as the top brass in several industries?
Common sense?

And this dude Reggie "who has worked for more than 3 decades as the top brass in several industries"

Didn't have any fucking insight or enlighten thing to say.

Why is that no one (like actual producers/managers) will actually come out and explain why crunch has been an issue since forever?

1. Crunch is actually unsolvable = a wicked problem.

2. These producers/managers don't know how to produce or manage shit.

And yes, unions are not the magic elixir. In fact, I would say that they would be more problematic.
 
He knows more about crunch then you, thats a fact because we worked on the industry for many years, and because he worked his ass off too working 12-16 hours a day

People who compain about crunch dont really understand why it happen and why is really Hard to avoid, game development is so volatile

That is what I am saying. He should know more that crunch that anyone...right? Yet, he didn't say anything truly enlightening, informative or eye-opening about it.

Just bullshit.
 

Nautilus

Member
Common sense?

And this dude Reggie "who has worked for more than 3 decades as the top brass in several industries"

Didn't have any fucking insight or enlighten thing to say.

Why is that no one (like actual producers/managers) will actually come out and explain why crunch has been an issue since forever?

1. Crunch is actually unsolvable = a wicked problem.

2. These producers/managers don't know how to produce or manage shit.

And yes, unions are not the magic elixir. In fact, I would say that they would be more problematic.
So please, pray tell: What would be an insightful or enlightening thing to say about this topic if you were Reggie?
 
So please, pray tell: What would be an insightful or enlightening thing to say about this topic if you were Reggie?
I already say it. Things like:

1. Crunch is actually unsolvable = a wicked problem.

2. These producers/managers don't know how to produce or manage shit.

What he said was:
If people find that their needs are not fulfilled, then unionization.

Oh wow, Big Reggie "who has worked for more than 3 decades as the top brass in several industries"

Stating the obvious.
 

Northeastmonk

Gold Member
I am making these comments because I’m not aware of what it’s like being a game developer. This is coming from my own personal experience after speaking to artists and working for sheet metal companies as a contractor. I also live in a state that doesn’t have active AAA video game development like some states out there. Developing video games isn’t seen as a trade, right? At least to a large majority of other businesses out there. To my understanding that’s where most unions are formed, the craftsman’s and trades of other industries. In video games, people are picked from the millions of other artists submitting work to get a job. Artists probably have a rough time because they could work months and months on some project and their work could easily be rejected (worse, ignored completely). Who wants to pay dues when your employment is far more fragile than a craftsman’s is. Freelance workers aren’t all going to want to pay for a union, which will be what it boils down to. Both the artist and the craftsman have contracts binding them to their employer, but that’s it. There’s no organization for the artist beyond hiring other special effect companies to make your fire and water effects look better.

What I am guessing is that he doesn’t want a large big company come under fire for something that an internal department should handle.
 
I am making these comments because I’m not aware of what it’s like being a game developer. This is coming from my own personal experience after speaking to artists and working for sheet metal companies as a contractor. I also live in a state that doesn’t have active AAA video game development like some states out there. Developing video games isn’t seen as a trade, right? At least to a large majority of other businesses out there. To my understanding that’s where most unions are formed, the craftsman’s and trades of other industries. In video games, people are picked from the millions of other artists submitting work to get a job. Artists probably have a rough time because they could work months and months on some project and their work could easily be rejected (worse, ignored completely). Who wants to pay dues when your employment is far more fragile than a craftsman’s is. Freelance workers aren’t all going to want to pay for a union, which will be what it boils down to. Both the artist and the craftsman have contracts binding them to their employer, but that’s it. There’s no organization for the artist beyond hiring other special effect companies to make your fire and water effects look better.

What I am guessing is that he doesn’t want a large big company come under fire for something that an internal department should handle.
Artists have:

Writers Guild of America
Director's Guild of America
Screen Actors' Guild/AFTRA
American Federation of Musicians
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees

Just to name a few.
 

Saucy Papi

Member
Anyone against unions in general is a complete moron. I've worked non union for 14 years and have now been in a union for 3 months. It's a complete game changer.

Unionizing gives the workers power and It cuts back on corporate greed. With that said I believe everyone should have the choice whether or not to join a union.
Be glad that yours is managed well. I've seen both sides where unions have driven companies into the ground and the other side where they're able to provide companies with a stable workforce for decades because they act as a good intermediary between the company and workers. It's a complete coin toss.
 
I'm looking forward to Unions destroying the western video game industry like they destroyed the western car industry,

The western car industry is doing fine in Germany, a country where literally every auto worker is unionized. It wasn't unions that killed the Big Three, it was the corporate executives who kept cutting corners and pinching pennies and outsourcing to Mexico even as they accumulated an irreversible reputation for terrible reliability
 

Valkyria

Member
Unions are cancer.History has proven that time and time again.

Having said that, I agree with Reggie. Most people wouldn't join a union, as they wouldn't join anything, without feeling that they can gain something out of it. If the workers were satisfied with their job/pay/whatever, there wouldn't be a need in the first place. So this is more of a matter of companies needing to be smarter and rewarding their *best* workers properly, and having feasable compensations for everyone if they do their job right.
You have to be this American to say something that stupid. I hope that you work your 14 hours shift 6 days a week.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Isnt Nintendo the company which last year we had a thread and head office has all the higher level FT jobs and managers and nearby is their hired gun contract office of low level CSR?
 

DonkeyPunchJr

World’s Biggest Weeb
Why are game industry jobs so shitty in the first place? I always thought it was because so many people grew up with a passion for games so they really want to get into the gaming industry.

Maybe game devs need to be willing to leave for another industry that pays better.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Unions are cancer.History has proven that time and time again.

Having said that, I agree with Reggie. Most people wouldn't join a union, as they wouldn't join anything, without feeling that they can gain something out of it. If the workers were satisfied with their job/pay/whatever, there wouldn't be a need in the first place. So this is more of a matter of companies needing to be smarter and rewarding their *best* workers properly, and having feasable compensations for everyone if they do their job right.
Unions only work for perhaps the lowest of the low companies with dangerous situations (zero safety standards). Most companies arent like that. Most people dont get paid anywhere close to min wage, and unions take advantage of situations.

The majority of the biggest and most successful companies have hardly any unions and get paid well.... banks/investment co, tech, pharma. The sectors that might be up there with good union representation are car and energy companies where the blue collar folks might be unionized.

It's a good structure of job description, pay tiers (often based on seniority than performance or attitude) for people who want to punch a clock 9-5 with predictable daily work 9little ambition to do other duties, low risk of getting fired as a union boss will chime in, and the worker accepts a place where they some reason dont care if the guy next to him makes more money due to years of service even though he does a lousy job. Jobs are often unsupervised with zero goal setting or personal evaluations. My sis in law is a nurse, unionized and hasnt had a formal chat about annual goals or evaluation in 15 years. It's like the boss and her dont even care or even know if she's doing the right thing or improving every year.

It got so bad that way back the Ontario government I believe had enough of police, fire, paramedics striking so they classified them as essential services in a bargaining agreement so they couldnt strike because the risk was always there theyd strike when come due and call in sick during emergencies. It's like the old postal worker days where they'd threaten striking during the Christmas rush but this involves public safety and the government cant trust these workers would show up during contract renewal time if they didnt get their way.

Anything for a buck.

The problem isn't companies or bosses. It's skill set. If you look at most union types of jobs, their skills are narrow and focused on certain industries or jobs. If they lose their job, they panic they cant get another so thats why job security is so important.

Sales, marketing, finance, legal etc.... typically none of these jobs are unionized. We got a wide enough skill set we can work at any place whether it's private sector, a home business or government. I do finance. I can work for anyone who needs financial analysis and monthly reporting done. I can technically even work for the military because there's got to be some people working on costs and budgets somewhere. Our jobs are more transferrable to different places.
 
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