Video Game Workers in Vancouver Vote to Unionize With IATSE – Hollywood Reporter

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The move by workers at Anemone Hug Interactive opens up a new era for labor in a fast-growing Canadian industry.
By Etan Vlessing
Canada Bureau Chief
Workers at Vancouver game developer Anemone Hug Interactive have voted to unionize, which marks the first full-service game development studio to form a union in Canada.
Using British Columbia’s certification process regulated by the province’s Labour Relations Board, the workers are now members of The Canadian Animation Guild IATSE Local 938. Anemone Hug Interactive, launched in 2015, has done work on game titles like Playstation’s The Art of Secret Ponchos, and Steam’s Crossfire Legion and Hardspace: Shipbreaker.
The unionization of a full-service games studio also opens up a new era for labor relations in a fast-growing Canadian video game industry. According to the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, video game companies in Canada generated around $4.3 billion in revenue in 2021, up 20 percent from 2019 pre-pandemic levels and representing more revenue than the Hollywood-dominated Canadian film and TV industry combined.

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“For years, game workers in Canada have been working without the benefits and protections of a union collective agreement and without the strength of union representation. Today, a clear message has been sent to game workers in every province — forming a union is not only possible, it has been done,” John Lewis, IATSE International vp and director of Canadian affairs, said in a statement.
IATSE is looking for gains at the negotiating table for video game workers to get fair and consistent overtime payments during crunch working period, protections against harassment, low wages and for other labor issues.
“The IATSE is the largest entertainment union and our expertise in this sector will ensure that the workers from Anemone Hug Interactive will get the representation they need and deserve,” IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb said in his own statement.
“These workers have found a home in the IATSE and game workers across Canada should use their success as inspiration to form unions at their own workplaces. By working together, game workers can have more control of their working conditions and can address the issues that have been plaguing this industry for years,” Loeb added.
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Alex holds a bachelor degree in both Entertainment Management and Journalism from Missouri State University. He presently focuses on entertainment news for Metrotainment. In his free time, he loves reading, farming and visiting his friends and family.