Los Angeles-based indie studio Tender Claws has formed another video game union. With the help of Communications Workers of America, which is currently on a campaign to unionize all digital employees, departments across Tender Claws have formed the Tender Claws Human Union.
If you’re wondering why it was necessary to specify this union as being one composed of humans, that’s actually a reference to Tender Claws’ game Virtual Virtual Reality, where a union of humans work for an AI boss. In an interview with Polygon, Tender Claws 3D artist Liz Walcher said, “It’s a little silly and tongue in cheek, but we felt that it was too good to pass up.”
Tender Claws asked for voluntary recognition last Tuesday, according to Polygon’s report, which was soon after Blizzard Albany asked for voluntary recognition from Activision Blizzard management. Unlike Activision, Tender Claws voluntarily recognized Tender Claws Human Union, which is made up of 13 full-time and part-time employees.
"While the signatures aren’t finalized, management has agreed to recognize TCHU-CWA pending a mutually acceptable agreement, and we look forward to working with them,",said Tender Claws Human Union in a statement. Tender Claws co-founders Danny Cannizzaro and Samantha Gorman also offered their full support of their studio’s nascent union.
"The Tender Claws Human Union will no doubt have a positive impact both within and beyond our walls," they said, "and we are thrilled to recognize and work with the union, collaborating to make Tender Claws the best working environment it can be."
Tender Claws is known for several virtual reality games, including Virtual Virtual Reality, Virtual Virtual Reality 2, and the virtual theater experience The Under Presents: Tempest, which is based on the Shakespearean play of the same name. Tender Claws also created the augmented reality pet game Tendar which uses facial recognition to interact with a virtual fish.
Tender Claws joins a growing list of game developer unions. Aside from Blizzard Albany, Game Workers Alliance recently received official recognition from the National Labor Relations Board to become Activision's first union. BioWare support studio Keynotes also successfully unionized in Canada last month following reports of poor work conditions and low pay.
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