IGN's Staff Move Forward With Effort To Unionize

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ZombiePie

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#1 ZombiePie  Staff

On Tuesday, Feburary 6th, 2024, members of IGN's editorial, video, and creative staff have announced that they intend to vote for membership to join the NewsGuild-CWA union. While this move does not mark the first attempt by an editorial team in the gaming press to unionize, IGN represents one of the largest video game editorial sites around the world and news that its staff was attempting to unionize was even reported on mainstream media channels like The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

In a public statement, the NewsGuild-CWA affirmed that the union representing workers at IGN would be called the "IGN Creators Guild" and went on further to say:

Today a supermajority of editorial and creative workers at IGN have announced that they are unionizing with the NewsGuild-CWA.

The unit will consist of a little over 80 employees at inception, with 87% of the eligible members signing union authorization cards. The IGN Creators Guild expects that Ziff Davis will voluntarily recognize the guild in response to this impressive participation from their staff.

The move to unionize comes after a year of record-breaking layoffs across entertainment and games journalism; in response to the need for better diversity and representation at the company; and in the wake of online media becoming less and less financially viable to staffers, many of which must live in some of the most expensive cities in the world in order to do their jobs.

One of the IGN Creators Guild's union reps, senior reporter Rebekah Valentine provided a statement on why she and others at IGN decided to move forward with unionization:

“I’ve seen what my colleagues are capable of, whether we’re producing content around blockbuster gaming and entertainment releases, spinning up massive live shows around tentpole industry events or staying abreast of the daily hum of popular culture, and it’s a constant reminder of what’s possible when this many smart and talented people work together”

“I’m immensely proud of this team, and want the best for all of us. IGN is already an industry leader in entertainment media, but it’s crucial that we ensure it also continues to be a bastion for the human beings who give it a voice.”

“IGN is an incredible place to work! But so many of the talented creators that make it so incredible need more support than they’re currently getting, especially when it comes to competitive pay and adequate time off”

Regardless of my personal feelings about IGN or some of the articles they have posted in the past and present, I stand by any and all attempts by workers to unionize so they can collectively bargain for better wages and fair treatment in the workplace. Hopefully this news spirals into a movement that leaves no major publication in the gaming press untouched. Glassdoor estimates that the starting salary for an editor starts as low as $51,170 per year and goes up to $82,692 per year for the highest level of seniority. However, IGN, like most of the big tentpole gaming press sites, has increasingly moved away from full-time staff and relied increasingly on freelancers which get compensated through temporary or one-off contracts.

Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
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ThePanzini

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Good for them, people in the US are quite weird about unions. Never worked a job without.

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bigsocrates

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@thepanzini: There are a number of reasons why the US is so bad when it comes to unionization. The biggest one is that our courts suck on the issue and so there are many fewer actual protections for people trying to unionize than there are in Europe, and even a lot that are on the books are not actually enforceable (legally you can't fire someone for trying to unionize but practically it is done all the time with very little in the way of punishment.)

Also there are a lot of issues with it regarding racism*, either from the past or currently, where white workers didn't want to be united with black workers and then either wouldn't unionize or would have extremely racist and non-functional unions that didn't support all workers' interests. And of course there was mafia infiltration.

This horrible stew along with a lot of well known American cultural pathologies has led a lot of people to be anti-union even when unions would help them personally (just like a lot of people were anti-union for racist reasons even though they would have benefited) and a lot of politicians blaming unions for various social problems etc... (teachers are well unionized and you should here the invective sprayed towards teachers' unions.)

It's a horrible state of affairs.

I obviously support the IGN union even though I haven't visited IGN regularly since the mid 2000s.

Almost all workers should have unions.

*sexism too!

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ALLTheDinos

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Good for them. Unions aren't perfect and won't "solve" layoffs, but it's the best option available. If nothing else, this will slow the gutting of the games journalism industry and allow anyone who is laid off more room to breathe than anyone gives them now.

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Ozzie

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Hell yeah, as someone who was in a Union just a few years back. The feeling of support it provides to have someone on your side is huge. I hope it succeeds!

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sparky_buzzsaw

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Wishing them the best of luck in this. It feels a bit late in the writing world to begin to unionize without corporate overlords just deciding to do without entirely and rely on gig workers or AI, but I'm glad they're making the effort. Support creatives.

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infantpipoc

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Ironically, this cannot be seen anywhere on IGN's front page. Maybe their corporate overlord Ziff David is THAT allergic to the U word...

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Shindig

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The front page isn't really the place for it, is it? It's an internal matter.

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SethMode

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@shindig: is it? Depends on your perspective. I think workers uniting in an industry that has been historically crushed by corporate greed should put their unionization announcement front and center.

Management tends to disagree.

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Shindig

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What can they honestly say? If unionising does result in discussions with CWA about pay/conditions, they've gotta concentrate on that. If they come out in support, the rest of the business can take the opportunity to unionise. If they condemn it, they look like arseholes. The writers have obviously taken the decision to unionise because they fell they need to. IGN management have to prepare for whatever discussions are forthcoming.

I do think it's a landmark moment but I still don't think IGN staff unionising lands well on the front page along with the reviews, listicles, and other ad-generating guff.

Time will tell. Hopefully it leads to a more protected industry but it still feels a long way off. Gaming coverage has always been a weird space. At times the top echelon of writing feels like it's a closed shop.

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ZombiePie

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#11 ZombiePie  Staff

IGN management has agree to recognize the IGN Creators Guild, which confirms that the full-time editorial staff of IGN are now fully unionized.

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Shindig

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#12  Edited By Shindig

Congratulations to them. Although I'd love to know just how many full-time editorial staff members IGN has. Do they heavily push for freelancers as much as I think they do?