Paizo Update from Jeff Alvarez

Monday, September 20, 2021

My public statement on Wednesday was a fundamental expression of Paizo’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, values that I share both personally and professionally. It was an opening statement—not the final word on the topic by any means.

Words are important.

But I also know that actions are even more important.

As a result, I want to share with you a number of actions that address some of the concerns that have been brought to our attention over the last week.

The welfare and safety of our employees is paramount. No employee will ever be fired for whistleblowing or advocating for employee safety and wellbeing, and we have never fired an employee for doing so.

Following our return from Gen Con, the Executive Team will schedule individual meetings with our managers to give them a chance to share concerns directly. In the coming weeks, Paizo will issue an independently managed employee engagement survey to provide all employees with an anonymous means to provide candid feedback. The information provided through this process is aimed at addressing employee concerns and driving change to create a more positive workplace.

We take all claims of harassment seriously. Our CEO Lisa Stevens released a statement in 2019 that underscores Paizo’s stance on this matter, and it applies today as well. You can read that here: https://paizo.com/community/guidelines.

We held staff-wide in person anti-harassment training in 2018 and initiated annual mandatory online training earlier in 2021.

We are currently finalizing a job description to fill a vacant full-time HR position. You’ll see this posted in the next few business days, and we’ll be looking for a candidate with expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is important to all of us that this professional can help us to maintain Paizo’s shared commitment to our values in recruitment, hiring, and daily operations.

In the meantime, we are encouraging our employees to make use of the free independent human resources hotline Paizo initiated in 2018, where they can report grievances of any kind in complete confidentiality.

Paizo makes decisions about employee convention attendance based on the business and community needs of the show, irrespective of gender or gender identity. However, it is time that Paizo evolves from the longtime practice of employees sharing rooms during convention and business travel. As such, we have enacted a one-employee-per-room policy that will be our standard moving forward. Employees can request to share a room if they so choose.

We are extending Paizo’s existing work-from-home timeline through at least the end of the year. Employees that want to work from the office can continue to do so but will need to abide by the company’s existing vaccination and mask policies. We will continue to follow CDC guidelines and keep our employees as safe as possible during the pandemic by offering work-from-home and a safe office space for those who prefer that option.

Over the last several years, we have invested heavily in Project Management to help the company get a better sense of workload in the Creative Department, implementing company-wide project management software and increasing the size of the project management team. This work has already resulted in increased production schedule lead times, and Paizo will continue to leverage this valuable resource to provide better work/life balances for our employees.

In the same period, the creation of additional management positions within the Creative Department has also helped give staff better access to managers, and to empower those managers to better gauge deadlines and workloads. As with our Project Management initiatives, this is an ongoing process, but it is already bearing fruit and improving not just Paizo’s products, but the lives of the brilliant creatives who make them possible.

To clear up some confusion that has worked its way into the conversation, freelancer relations remains the purview of the Creative Department. Paizo freelancers who appreciate their strong relationship with our developers, editors, and art team can be assured that we have made no changes on this front.

Finally, based on feedback from the staff, we changed professional cleaning services in 2017, and the offices have been cleaned and vacuumed on a regular basis since then.

These aren’t the only things we are doing. We are building strategies to address the challenges facing the company and will strive to be more transparent about our plans as we build stronger lines of communication with everyone at Paizo. We are committed to listening. We are committed to continuing to improve based on the feedback of our teams. There will be more messages, and more concrete actions, to come.

--Jeff

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Horizon Hunters

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Cori Marie wrote:
Imagine being a tabletop roleplayer and not supporting a union. As the Paizo Union account said, "When one party member is in trouble, we all roll for initiative."

I am a tabletop gamer and I don’t support unions. I grew up in a house with one parent who was in a union, and repeated strikes did NOTHING for my father. Nothing. So whatever good might have been done by unions for other families, none was done for mine. No wage increases that made a difference and my parents still had to stand in line to get government cheese (seriously.)

But, I know that my family’s experience is only one case - and that example can’t determine what others should do, nor is my family’s experience reflective of the experience for other union households.

I’m not going to join the calls for unionization, but I’m not going to condemn them either. And if they are successful in getting recognized, then I hope they get the benefits they hope to get.

I wish them the best, but I think my own experience has jaded me so much that I doubt it will make much of a difference.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I still love you, Mark.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I personally support calls for unionizing. I am however concerned about Paizo's bottom line here. I wouldn't mind paying more for my books to compensate but I'm not sure how tight the margins are at Paizo right now.

This is a great thing so long as it's something that doesn't drive them out of business.

I'll be looking to the future with hope that all of this goes over well both for Paizo and for Paizo's staff.

Dark Archive

14 people marked this as a favorite.
Gloom wrote:
This is a great thing so long as it's something that doesn't drive them out of business.

That's management talk and has no place here.

Grand Lodge

13 people marked this as a favorite.

I live in a place where unions and strikes are so everyday that the idea of being anti-union admittedly boggles my mind. Wages here are higher across the board, and our workforce is so much better protected, given the horror stories I hear from US friends.

Maybe the US is just... doing unions wrong? I don't know. Either way, I can't help but feel that unions are a Good Thing all around, and always at least a step in the right direction.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Just as long as this doesn't get seen as a way for management to avoid accepting responsibility for previous bad policies


11 people marked this as a favorite.

All power to the workers; this is the best news I've seen in quite some time.

What email address are folks directing calls for union recognition to?

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
firegazer wrote:

I live in a place where unions and strikes are so everyday that the idea of being anti-union admittedly boggles my mind. Wages here are higher across the board, and our workforce is so much better protected, given the horror stories I hear from US friends.

Maybe the US is just... doing unions wrong? I don't know. Either way, I can't help but feel that unions are a Good Thing all around, and always at least a step in the right direction.

It is just that there are 50 different states doing 50 different things regarding unions. I work in a right to work state, so the teacher unions TECHNICALLY have little power but in practice have much more power (imagine if we went on strike, where would all the children get their education? It is a powerful form of leverage). It really depends on where you live.


9 people marked this as a favorite.
firegazer wrote:

I live in a place where unions and strikes are so everyday that the idea of being anti-union admittedly boggles my mind. Wages here are higher across the board, and our workforce is so much better protected, given the horror stories I hear from US friends.

Maybe the US is just... doing unions wrong? I don't know. Either way, I can't help but feel that unions are a Good Thing all around, and always at least a step in the right direction.

Mostly the US is doing business wrong and unions are weak because of that.

Dark Archive

3 people marked this as a favorite.
thejeff wrote:
firegazer wrote:

I live in a place where unions and strikes are so everyday that the idea of being anti-union admittedly boggles my mind. Wages here are higher across the board, and our workforce is so much better protected, given the horror stories I hear from US friends.

Maybe the US is just... doing unions wrong? I don't know. Either way, I can't help but feel that unions are a Good Thing all around, and always at least a step in the right direction.

Mostly the US is doing business wrong and unions are weak because of that.

There's a little more to it than that. But that is neither here nor there.

Spoiler:
let's not start talking labor politics and give management a reason/excuse to delete these posts

Silver Crusade

10 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
keftiu wrote:

All power to the workers; this is the best news I've seen in quite some time.

What email address are folks directing calls for union recognition to?

They make it really easy, complete with templates if you want

Here


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Cori Marie wrote:
keftiu wrote:

All power to the workers; this is the best news I've seen in quite some time.

What email address are folks directing calls for union recognition to?

They make it really easy, complete with templates if you want

Here

Cori doing the markup work. Bless.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

My letter of support has gone out too. Gosh what a great day.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Interesting turn of events. Hope it works out for them. Though the one company I worked for which had a union in another location did it’s best to undermine and eventually get rid of the union. No one wants to join one if whatever benefits the unionized employees receive the non-union ones get the exact same.

Wish them the best of luck and watch and see how everything plays out.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Cori Marie wrote:
keftiu wrote:

All power to the workers; this is the best news I've seen in quite some time.

What email address are folks directing calls for union recognition to?

They make it really easy, complete with templates if you want

Here

Sent mine off as well!

Paizo Employee Director of Community

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Removed some posts with personal attacks and the relevant quotes. Please state your opinion without attacking someone else in the process. Thank you kindly!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Sent mine too!!

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Noven wrote:
Zexcir wrote:
Working in a Union was one of the worst working experiences in my life, so I hope if this goes well, good luck.
I think unions largely depend on where you work. Being a teacher in a teacher union, I have greatly enjoyed the collective bargaining.

Great point! This was manufacturing. They're would be times when we'd have to do an "offsite job." Spend one hour driving there, work for two hours then drive back so that we could "eat lunch" in the cafeteria which was protected by our union rights. I mean I get it, but I'd rather eat my lunch in the truck and finish the job most the time. It always annoys me me when people would pull the union card to do stuff like this....

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Quote:
It really depends on where you live

and which union you belong to. They are not all created equal. There are some union locals in urban areas that effectively have more power than any of the government offices/officials. I have seen first-hand the power that the IBEW can exercise in Chicago.

Generally speaking, I support the union efforts, but I am not sure the union model is the right answer for this industry or this company. Time will tell and I wish them luck.


11 people marked this as a favorite.

If you want to buy some United Paizo Workforce merch, they're on Redbubble.

Tangent: there's something hysterically ironic about the fact that I need to be wary of VAT/customs/crazy shipping fees when ordering Paizo products from Paizo itself, but UPW merch is being made by a company which has an office and printing/shipping facilities in Berlin, so I don't have to bother with none of that :D

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I am also interested to see the union's structure and costs to the employees. Unions tend not to be cheap to operate.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sent mine


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Letter of support sent.

The number of people involved in this effort speaks loudly and clearly about the necessity of it.

I hope management does the right thing and recognizes the union quickly, affirming in action their statements committing to improvement, so that the work of negotiating a way forward for the company can begin in earnest.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Leg o' Lamb wrote:
Gloom wrote:
This is a great thing so long as it's something that doesn't drive them out of business.
That's management talk and has no place here.

Gloom there has 9? subscriptions. I'd say that's more "Pathfinder/Starfinder fan and supporter" talk than management talk.

If it doesn't violate the community rules...it has a place here regardless.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Sent my letter of support for the union. Hope management does the right thing here and recognizes the union, it would go towards rebuilding trust. That combined with accountability that still remains absent from management might get me to buy Paizo products again, I'd love to get Grand Bazaar and Guns & Gears if I trust the management is competent and trustworthy but I can live without them while I don't.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

CWA 7200

In solidarity


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Applied_People wrote:
Leg o' Lamb wrote:
Gloom wrote:
This is a great thing so long as it's something that doesn't drive them out of business.
That's management talk and has no place here.

Gloom there has 9? subscriptions. I'd say that's more "Pathfinder/Starfinder fan and supporter" talk than management talk.

If it doesn't violate the community rules...it has a place here regardless.

That most definitely is management talk. We want the best for the people vital not only in creating content, but also the ones who are shipping out product, and most definitely the customer service reps who get to deal with BS day to day.

In solidarity CWA 7200 represent

Liberty's Edge

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I mean, I had 7 subscriptions (9 if you count the two complementary Society ones).

I hope to have them again in the future.

Solidarity Forever.


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Particular Jones wrote:

No one wants to join one if whatever benefits the unionized employees receive the non-union ones get the exact same.

Wish them the best of luck and watch and see how everything plays out.

A union is really only as strong as its employer's most vulnerable workers.

I'm still deciding how I feel about this, but unionization is never not a good thing when it's directed towards uplifting all.


Wow.


10 people marked this as a favorite.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I'm still deciding how I feel about this

Me too.

The union should be a good thing for the staff, but it feels like there's been a general shift from "acknowledge and fix any transphobia or no more purchases" to "acknowledge the union or no more purchases", which feels like transpeople being ditched as soon as some other cause comes along (as usual)


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Andy Brown wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I'm still deciding how I feel about this

Me too.

The union should be a good thing for the staff, but it feels like there's been a general shift from "acknowledge and fix any transphobia or no more purchases" to "acknowledge the union or no more purchases", which feels like transpeople being ditched as soon as some other cause comes along (as usual)

Yeah, all the people saying that if they acknowledge the union they will resubscribe has caused me the same worry.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Andy Brown wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I'm still deciding how I feel about this

Me too.

The union should be a good thing for the staff, but it feels like there's been a general shift from "acknowledge and fix any transphobia or no more purchases" to "acknowledge the union or no more purchases", which feels like transpeople being ditched as soon as some other cause comes along (as usual)

My impression is that this is one of the objectives a union would be accomplishing. In their own words: "So that’s what we’re doing. By forming a union, we’ll be able to speak with one voice to management, and to finally have a say in how the company we love is run. We’ll be able to protect each other, stand up for each other, and fight for what’s right."

Giving staff collective bargaining power (along with hiring a full-time diversity consultant) should curtail any transphobic policy an executive would otherwise try to implement.

Edit: I missed your point. Yeah, Paizo needs to acknowledge any transphobic/abusive behavior that's happened too. Will give the union long-term leverage to keep management accountable, which is an important gesture, along with the very act of recognizing the problem itself. Hope management listens this time.


In theory, yeah, it could do that.


My point was also the change in focus in this (and other) threads. Maybe I've just seen too many (political) campaigns for lgbt equality drop the bt part so they could get stuff for the l & g that I'm over-sensitive to getting thrown under a bus


19 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Tender Tendrils wrote:
Andy Brown wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I'm still deciding how I feel about this

Me too.

The union should be a good thing for the staff, but it feels like there's been a general shift from "acknowledge and fix any transphobia or no more purchases" to "acknowledge the union or no more purchases", which feels like transpeople being ditched as soon as some other cause comes along (as usual)
Yeah, all the people saying that if they acknowledge the union they will resubscribe has caused me the same worry.

Recognising the union is a necessary step for me,

Responding to historic incidents of transphobia is another.

I won’t resume my support for Paizo until both are addressed.

I really hope I am in a position to do that soon.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Let's not forget the doxxing.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Andy Brown wrote:
My point was also the change in focus in this (and other) threads. Maybe I've just seen too many (political) campaigns for lgbt equality drop the bt part so they could get stuff for the l & g that I'm over-sensitive to getting thrown under a bus

Praying this doesn't happen here. I thought at least part of the Union was going to address the rights of trans workers.


Silly question... how do we know this unionization thing is real?

Any bozo can set up a couple web sites full of whatever they want. This could just as easily be a random forum denizen manipulating the situation (right or wrong) and not be legitimate at all. With it selling merch - in particular - I'm lacking confidence.

There's a recent four-year-period that has demonstrated that what you read and what is real aren't always in sync.

In short, what if Russia* is behind this.

*Where Russia indicates "outside bad-faith actor of any kind or origin."

Silver Crusade

20 people marked this as a favorite.

*pinches ridge of nose*

Maaaaaaaaaybe because the people who have their names listed have spoken out in support of it rather than, ya’know, saying it’s fake?

Something else these 4 years has hopefully taught, don’t take someone at their word just because they call something fake.

Dark Archive

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Anguish wrote:

Silly question... how do we know this unionization thing is real?

Any bozo can set up a couple web sites full of whatever they want. This could just as easily be a random forum denizen manipulating the situation (right or wrong) and not be legitimate at all. With it selling merch - in particular - I'm lacking confidence.

There's a recent four-year-period that has demonstrated that what you read and what is real aren't always in sync.

In short, what if Russia* is behind this.

*Where Russia indicates "outside bad-faith actor of any kind or origin."

Because I've talked with some of the people involved.

Silver Crusade

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Andy Brown wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I'm still deciding how I feel about this

Me too.

The union should be a good thing for the staff, but it feels like there's been a general shift from "acknowledge and fix any transphobia or no more purchases" to "acknowledge the union or no more purchases", which feels like transpeople being ditched as soon as some other cause comes along (as usual)

Hi Trans person here, I'm one of them that is focused on the union getting recognized, because a union will help prevent similar things in the future. Please don't pretend you speak for every trans person here.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I can only speak for myself, but my emails to the exec team stated pretty clearly that recognizing the union was merely a step toward restoring my trust, not a salve for the entire situation.

I also said that, without said recognition, I had no confidence in any other decisions to address the myriad complaints levied against Paizo by former employees.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Cori Marie wrote:
Andy Brown wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I'm still deciding how I feel about this

Me too.

The union should be a good thing for the staff, but it feels like there's been a general shift from "acknowledge and fix any transphobia or no more purchases" to "acknowledge the union or no more purchases", which feels like transpeople being ditched as soon as some other cause comes along (as usual)
Hi Trans person here, I'm one of them that is focused on the union getting recognized, because a union will help prevent similar things in the future. Please don't pretend you speak for every trans person here.

Serious question: what makes you think I'm trying to speak for every trans person in that post?

I've posted what it feels like to me, given all the times we've been ignored by supposedly inclusive groups to get their own way.
I'm also only commenting on the change in focus of posts in these threads; I'm fairly confident the union, being made up of the paizo creative staff, will do the right thing, but up till now I've not been referencing them, just the number of people who decided to post that recognizing the union is enough for them to keep/restart their subscriptions.

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Maybe because that's what the union is specifically asking for? If you don't feel it's enough, fine, but don't tell others they can't feel differently. I too want the transphobia addressed, but I think the more pressing concern at the moment is to recognize the union and then the union can negotiate and push for things of that nature.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Yoshua wrote:
So, it is a grey area.

Paizo, including their website, specifically operate within Europe and are, therefore, required to comply with EU data protection requirements, including the General Data Protection Regulation.

This was (at least two instances of) a malicious breach by senior management of the company that went unrectified for at least several weeks in one case and almost two years in the other.

In fact, ast least one such breach was doubled down on by that senior manager, who is the president of the company to this day.

Fines in this instance can stretch up to 5% of global turnover per instance to a maximum of €20m, again per instance.

It is hard to see how deliberate malfeasance would not attract the maximum penalty.

I love a lack of grey areas arising from respect for personal data.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Cori Marie wrote:
Maybe because that's what the union is specifically asking for? If you don't feel it's enough, fine, but don't tell others they can't feel differently. I too want the transphobia addressed, but I think the more pressing concern at the moment is to recognize the union and then the union can negotiate and push for things of that nature.

At no point have I told anybody how to feel, all I've done is said how things feel to me.

Can we either leave this as a misunderstanding of what's being posted, or take it to private messages, so that we don't further derail the thread?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Anguish wrote:

Silly question... how do we know this unionization thing is real?

Any bozo can set up a couple web sites full of whatever they want. This could just as easily be a random forum denizen manipulating the situation (right or wrong) and not be legitimate at all. With it selling merch - in particular - I'm lacking confidence.

There's a recent four-year-period that has demonstrated that what you read and what is real aren't always in sync.

In short, what if Russia* is behind this.

*Where Russia indicates "outside bad-faith actor of any kind or origin."

Multiple people working for or otherwise associated with Paizo have linked to the twitter thread announcing the union and otherwise expressed their support for it. I mean, it's possible that e.g. Logan Bonner's account has been hacked and/or been a mole all along waiting for this moment, but it does not seem particularly likely.


11 people marked this as a favorite.

Don't engage with bad-faith distractions.

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