Striking Lovestruck Writers Challenge Bosses And Win

Illustration for article titled Striking iLovestruck/i Writers Challenge Bosses And Win
Screenshot: Voltage Organized Workers

Today the writers of Lovestruck, a popular visual novel romance game, announced a successful end to their unprecedented strike. Two weeks ago Kotaku reported on a writers strike for the mobile app, Lovestruck. Now, the writers have come to an agreement with their bosses at Voltage Entertainment whereby all of the writers will receive significant increases in pay.

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“As part of this agreeable resolution, we are excited to share that every single writer has received a meaningful pay increase and improved transparency at work,” the writers, operating under the collective name Voltage Organized Workers or VOW, wrote on their blog.

Voltage Entertainment responded similarly in a tweet stating, “We are glad to announce that we have reached an agreement with all the writers who completed discussions.” When the strike began, it posted a lengthy statement, archived here, saying it “considers the situation resolved” while implying some, if not all, the writers had been released from their contracts. That post has now been removed while a source familiar with the situation confirms none of the writers have been fired, though one chose not to return, and the rest are now back to work.

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Working with the support of the Campaign to Organize Digital Employees, the writers negotiated raises that increased their salaries anywhere between 66% and 94%. They also launched a GoFundMe campaign to cover all wages lost during the strike.

The success of this strike comes as video game companies are under mounting pressure for fair and equitable pay. Earlier this week, Activision Blizzard boasted “record results” for Q2 2020, even as its employees are speaking out against raises well below company-set expectations and organizing for better pay for customer service and quality assurance employees.

The writers’ success is remarkable because these employees are not unionized. Without a union’s protection, they all faced the termination of their contracts. But they banded together, remained firm in their negotiations and, in the end, they won what they asked for.

VOW believes this success can be replicated throughout the video game industry. “This achievement proves that great things happen when we look to each other as friends instead of rivals,” they wrote. “We believe anyone in the industry can do the same!”

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DISCUSSION

This is awesome! Kudos to the writers for sticking together and making progress happen.

The last couple of grafs were interesting to me, especially this part:

This is probably just my deep labor ignorance speaking, but isn’t that essentially an informal union? Is there a reason the writers wouldn’t want to formally unionize? Dues? Not trying to ask leading questions to make some point, just genuinely curious as I’m not in a unionized field so I don’t have a lot of experience with unions beyond what I read/hear from others. But any win for labor these days is a good sign in my book.