Video game unionization has been increasingly talked-about in light of recent events, and now the idea has received a high-profile endorsement from US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. The Vermont Senator is currently running to be the Democratic nominee for president in 2020, and expressed support for game unionization on Twitter.
The tweet referenced the size of the multi-billion dollar industry and praised the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and Game Workers Unite for organizing workers. He also linked to an article from Time, summarizing recent developments in the industry that have led to calls for unionization.
The video game industry made $43 billion in revenue last year. The workers responsible for that profit deserve to collectively bargain as part of a union. I'm glad to see unions like @IATSE and the broader @GameWorkers movement organizing such workers. https://t.co/Ia5gMG2v0w— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 18, 2019
Sanders is a self-described Democratic Socialist, and has often spoken on unionization and workers rights issues. He is one of almost two dozen Democratic candidates vying for the nomination.
Unionization has been an especially pertinent topic in recent months following reports of heavy crunch at several high-profile studios. Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick recently expressed his thoughts about crunch, but expressed willingness to engage in collective bargaining. Some studios have made a point to respond directly to crunch, and Nintendo recently suggested its delay to Animal Crossing: New Horizons was to promote a healthy work-life balance. The crunch periods have spurred on calls from outside groups, including an open letter from the AFL-CIO.