- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Bernie Sanders is making a pitch to become the darling of video game industry’s employees.

Actor Keanu Reeves made national headlines when it was announced that he would star in CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077, but the Vermont senator appear to be vying for the “Cyberpunk Socialst 2020” crown — he wants a mass unionization movement for developers.

“The video game industry made $43 billion in revenue last year,” Mr. Sanders tweeted Tuesday. “The workers responsible for that profit deserve to collectively bargain as part of a union. I’m glad to see unions like @IATSE and the broader @GameWorkers movement organizing such workers.”

The 2020 presidential hopeful buttressed his case by citing a recent Time magazine article.

“There’s a belief in the games industry that working in it is a privilege, and that you should be willing to do whatever it takes to stay there,” said Emily Grace Buck, a former narrative designer at Telltale, for a June 11 interview. “The most important thing to remember is that it’s not every single game studio that’s functioning like this, but this is the vast majority, this is normal for this industry.”

The magazine’s piece went on to describe working conditions and layoffs at companies like Rockstar Games, Activision Blizzard, Riot Games.

“Every game you like is built on the backs of workers,” added Nathan Allen Ortega, a former employee of Telltale Games.

Mr. Ortega and 25% of the company’s staff were laid off in 2017.

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