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03/23/2005

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bowler

I only skim-read the article, but if anyone thinks a Union is going to save the "quality of life" issues around game production, they're kidding themselves. When people have it bad, they look to good examples, so no doubt people want to site the "successes" of Unionizing, from Hollywood to carpentry to teachers.

The only problem, is that Hollywood got "lucky" in that they found a way to make it work (and some would argue that paying someone $40/hr just to switch on a light on a set isn't exactly "making it work"). The US Animation industry tried a Union once, and it absolutely killed the industry and created the Pacific Rim and now Indian outsourcing seen today, which is now figuring out ways to encroach on video-game production.

We aren't carpenters. We're not teachers. Our jobs are *easily* outsourceable. It only takes one successful outsourcing attempt to convince producers and executives that a slight diminish in ownership and quality is worth the vast savings of outsourcing. Other industries have learned that even having to have the outsourced studio fix the work five times is still cheaper than having someone in the US do it right the first time. The very concept of a Union, or god forbid, a strike (the very thing that forced the outsourcing in the animation industry) is going to make outsourcing look more and more appealing.

I don't like long hours, but I like being unemployed and looking for a new industry a lot less. And I've been laid off by the animation industry three times now before finding a home in video-game production. Trust me. Unions aren't the answer.

Char

I do agree that unionization is not necessarily the cure all for what is going on in the gaming industry but having unions did not cause outsourcing. The greed of stock holders, company boards and upper management caused outsourcing.

I do think though that workers in the gaming industry need to join organizations that like IGDA or any other not for profit organization where they can talk about the problems in the industry and help set standards. Yes not all companies would follow the standards but the ones worth working for would be willing to follow the standards.

I work in the telecommunications industry right now that has some workers who are unionized like me and others who are not. I will have to say the ones that do not have a union have some benefits because of the ones that are union. The thinking is if they have pay and benefits close to union pay and benefits they will not vote the union in. Some of the talk of unionizing may be a way for some people to get the companies to correct themselves. Their thinking is we threaten a union movement the company will clean its act up.

bowler

"I do agree that unionization is not necessarily the cure all for what is going on in the gaming industry but having unions did not cause outsourcing. The greed of stock holders, company boards and upper management caused outsourcing."

I should have been more specific in my example. I meant to say that Unionization brought about the eventual demise of the US Animation industry, as it brought about outsourcing. Had nothing to do with stockholders. Around '84 the Animation Union (used to know the number, now too lazy to look it up) went on strike for better wages, etc., and the Hollywood studios realized they could outsource to Pacific Rim studios and save money in the process. Previous to '84, there wasn't much of any outsourcing. The industry never recovered, and currently is in probably the worst if not the second worse slump (gotta give credit to the original lull the strike created) in its history.

Char

I see what you mean now when you say unionization brought about the demise of the US Animation industry. The telecommunications workers who are unionized have been told that we could loose are jobs to outsourcing if we go out on strike.

outsider

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