Despite months of negative talking points by Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard, quality assurance staff at its Raven Software studio voted to unionize Monday, becoming the first union at a big studio in the U.S. The successful vote comes with talk of labor organizing picking up across the gaming industry as developers call for better pay, job security, and corporate accountability.
So that just happened.
Popular socialist streamer Hasan Piker did a cool thing earlier this week: he launched a new line of merch aimed at supporting workers. In addition to the clothes being made by union shops, some of the profits are also going to strike funds to help pro-labor causes across the country. The store also includes a tie-die Bernie Sanders shirt that’s extremely metal.
Earlier this week, it came to light that Twitch was running ads in blatant opposition to the Amazon warehouse worker unionization effort in Bessemer, Alabama. Streamers, who had no say in whether or not these ads appeared during their broadcasts, were outraged. Today, Twitch has removed the ads, saying that they never should have run in the first place.
Twitch streamers, Instagram influencers, and TikTokers just got a potentially very powerful ally: The Screen Actors Guild—American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, aka SAG-AFTRA, one of the most powerful unions in Hollywood. Soon, influencers who create branded content will be able to qualify for union benefits.