UNITED PAIZO WORKERS


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Paizo Employee Organized Play Coordinator

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Rooch wrote:
[...] since this is backed by the Communication Workers of America I'm skeptical how "organic" this is. I'd hate to see a quality ruleset and company bogged down by a big time national union taking their shot at the game space.

The workers of Paizo approached CWA, not the other way around. The CWA has provided us with legal support and advice as we continued our recruiting efforts, and will continue to do so as we move forward.


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This is great news. I'm one of those people who hardly ever post on here but have been a Paizo customer since the company began, and I fully support the Paizo Workers Union.


Anorak wrote:

Big News from Jason, Senior PF & SF Developer

Twitter Thread

"Well, about a month ago, about 40 of Paizo’s most reliable, prolific, and skilled freelancers simply stopped working. In official parlance, this is called “concerted action.” In layman’s terms, it’s a strike without a union."

Now, this group of freelancers had a specific list of demands. They wanted Paizo to hire a diversity officer, for example, and investigate recent terminations. But yesterday, they updated their demands: they’ll all come back to work if Paizo recognizes United Paizo Workers.

That's very good to hear. Many of the issues affect freelancers as well and they're in many ways even more vulnerable. They can't be directly represented in this kind of union, I don't think, but if you are able to negotiate better terms into your contract, that's a big step.


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Oh yes, for a freelancer-based business, 40 long-term contributors walking out is a massive hit. The industry is small, and there's plenty of opportunities elsewhere (esp for artists), so this one is gonna hurt and snowball quickly.

Imagine Wayne Reynolds saying "sorry good Sirs and Madams, no artwork for you until this scuffle is sorted out, methinks I have more than plenty fine work sent my way by Sorcerors down the Shore. Toodle pip!". That'll leave a mark.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

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Removed the obviously baiting comments and replies. Reminder to look over the community guidelines before you post something just to get a rise out of someone else.


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Raychael wrote:
Removed the obviously baiting comments and replies. Reminder to look over the community guidelines before you post something just to get a rise out of someone else.

We appreciate you <3


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Quote:

Divided We Beg.

United We Bargain.


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Raychael wrote:
Removed the obviously baiting comments and replies. Reminder to look over the community guidelines before you post something just to get a rise out of someone else.

Sure but you deleted my post earlier today which was neither baiting or offensive, you can't just delete someone because they don't agree with your views.

I'll say it again though.

Hiring a diversity consultant full-time for a company of 75 is ludicrous.

Hiring a HR person for a company of 75 is great.

Hiring either position will probably entail a salary more than most Paizo employees make.

I support a few Paizo employees on Patreon and have bought kickstarters from some that I will probably never use but I like to support the people who make the games I love.

People boycotting and bandwagoning on allegations goes pretty hard against something the USA dearly loves. Innocent until proven guilty.

Stopping subscriptions and purchasing of product might hurt the company or even kill it but the only people who will really lose the most with those actions are the people you say you are trying to support.


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The union has my full support and the solidarity shown by the striking freelancers is truly inspirational. I’m maintaining my personal boycott - which, to be clear, the union has not called for - because I don’t want to support the company while it refuses to acknowledge credible accusations of transphobic policies.

Customers have the right to not buy things if they’re unhappy with the company selling them.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I would expect the people who create a product based around strategizing, teamwork and balancing the numbers of the mechanics of a complex game would be competent enough to ensure their requests are manageable.


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David knott 242 wrote:


I wish them luck, but I do see that they suffer from the same problem as my company -- the union will be representing Paizo alone and not any of their competitors, which limits their leverage. Imagine what they could do if the same union also represented the employees at WotC.

With the union as is, Paizo management would have to be complete idiots not to recognize it.

As someone who is a CWA member(7200 in solidarity) and no. They are not going to be pro company. They certainly aren’t with mine.

Horizon Hunters

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ograx wrote:


Sure but you deleted my post earlier today which was neither baiting or offensive, you can't just delete someone because they don't agree with your views.

I'll say it again though.

Hiring a diversity consultant full-time for a company of 75 is ludicrous.

Hiring a HR person for a company of 75 is great.

Hiring either position will probably entail a salary more than most Paizo employees make.

I support a few Paizo employees on Patreon and have bought kickstarters from some that I will probably never use but I like to support the people who make the games I love.

People boycotting and bandwagoning on allegations goes pretty hard against something the USA dearly loves. Innocent until proven guilty.

Stopping subscriptions and purchasing of product might hurt the company or even kill it but the only people who will really lose the most with those actions are the people you say you are trying to support.

Why is hiring a diversity person for 80 or so people ludicrous?

And innocent until proven guilty is a legal issue - it’s not a customer based one - our society allows people to choose what to buy and from whom, or to not buy.


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ograx wrote:

Sure but you deleted my post earlier today which was neither baiting or offensive, you can't just delete someone because they don't agree with your views.

I'll say it again though.

Hiring a diversity consultant full-time for a company of 75 is ludicrous.

Hiring a HR person for a company of 75 is great.

Hiring either position will probably entail a salary more than most Paizo employees make.

I support a few Paizo employees on Patreon and have bought kickstarters from some that I will probably never use but I like to support the people who make the games I love.

People boycotting and bandwagoning on allegations goes pretty hard against something the USA dearly loves. Innocent until proven guilty.

Stopping subscriptions and purchasing of product might hurt the company or even kill it but the only people who will really lose the most with those actions are the people you say you are trying to support.

I'm trying, but I just really don't understand this point of view. The people most impacted by these allegations, and the people closest to understanding the truth (or falsity) behind them, have just banded together en masse to form a union. This conversation is way, way past "innocent until proven guilty." First, this isn't a court, and while I agree that this principle should be applied in circumstances like this, there is a preponderance of evidence that these allegations are, if not entirely true, at least contain a lot of truth to them. You don't get more than half of Paizo's company fighting for their livelihoods if there isn't some truth to these allegations going on. I mean, why are we even talking about this still?

Second, I don't think anyone is calling for a full-time diversity consultant at the moment, as that was only the freelance team that made that demand, and apparently, all they want now is for Paizo to recognize the union. Regardless, they weren't making this demand willy-nilly, they gave a very specific reason for making it: "In addition, there are accounts of staff, especially those who are minoritized, needing to fight against the executive team to get the diverse and inclusive content Paizo's games are known for made at all."

Maybe these accounts are inaccurate. Doesn't seem very likely, but sure, we'll throw that out there. Even then, if management's behavior is so inscrutable that the people working with them regularly find these allegations pretty believable, enough to strike for, then that's on management. And they need to restore trust with their people.

I don't believe any of Paizo's staff want to run the company over with a bulldozer. Like, not even Jessica Price wants that. We're dealing with people who are in crunch mode all year round and still struggling to make a living, not people demanding piña coladas and free massages on their third hour-long break every day. Like, seriously. Maybe give the people making these amazing books some credit.

They are not going to demand the company go bankrupt. They are going to demand that the company succeed. Currently, it has fallen short of that. That's not their fault, but they are putting in even more hard work to fix it. And we're...arguing with them...for some reason.

Respectfully.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the win. Having someone who is skilled in those three things brings a lot of power to a company and its employees.


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Mark Stratton wrote:
ograx wrote:


Sure but you deleted my post earlier today which was neither baiting or offensive, you can't just delete someone because they don't agree with your views.

I'll say it again though.

Hiring a diversity consultant full-time for a company of 75 is ludicrous.

Hiring a HR person for a company of 75 is great.

Hiring either position will probably entail a salary more than most Paizo employees make.

I support a few Paizo employees on Patreon and have bought kickstarters from some that I will probably never use but I like to support the people who make the games I love.

People boycotting and bandwagoning on allegations goes pretty hard against something the USA dearly loves. Innocent until proven guilty.

Stopping subscriptions and purchasing of product might hurt the company or even kill it but the only people who will really lose the most with those actions are the people you say you are trying to support.

Why is hiring a diversity person for 80 or so people ludicrous?

And innocent until proven guilty is a legal issue - it’s not a customer based one - our society allows people to choose what to buy and from whom, or to not buy.

An average HR person makes 60K a year in washington.

I would imagine any kind of fulltime consultant would be about the same or more.

I would imagine based on what I have seen that most Paizo employees would be thrilled if they had a 60K a year salaried position.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

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ograx wrote:
Raychael wrote:
Removed the obviously baiting comments and replies. Reminder to look over the community guidelines before you post something just to get a rise out of someone else.

Sure but you deleted my post earlier today which was neither baiting or offensive, you can't just delete someone because they don't agree with your views.

SNIP

Hi! Shockingly, we have more than one person who removes posts (I know, it's hard to tell sometimes)! But hey, I'll clear your flags and let you discuss so long as you are 1) respectful of other members of the community; 2) do not start, or engage in, a back and forth bickering (particularly of something that has been discussed at length in other threads); 3) keep it on topic, which in this case, is discussing the UPW. You can always start a new thread for a different topic.

Additionally, we're all merely human, so please feel free to email our community director at community@paizo.com if you feel a post was wrongly removed or have a problem/concern with any moderation.


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Starfinder Superscriber

Well this is a pretty rigged discussion if you're actively policing people's posts for anti-union content. Not that it matters what we think, since this is between Paizo & the UPW now and is governed by labor law.


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Leon Aquilla wrote:
Well this is a pretty rigged discussion if you're actively policing people's posts for anti-union content. Not that it matters what we think, since this is between Paizo & the UPW now and is governed by labor law.

My dude, why would you think official representatives of the company would be policing anti-union content? If they've got any directives it would either to be neutral to good-faith criticism or active suppression of pro-union points of view. Going against directives would put their job in jeopardy even if they are privately pro-union.


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They’re not anyway. Rachael posted why the posts were removed - “deliberately baiting and trying to get a rise out of someone.”

When they prune a thread they often catch non-problematic posts but have to make a swift judgement about what will look nonsensical out of context (or that might just restart a conversation if it’s left there).

Don’t take it personally if your post is removed. If you really object you can email community@paizo.com or start a thread in the website feedback forum. Those are the preferred avenues for discussing moderation decisions (and Paizo have the right to dictate how their own forums are run).


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The last years have been mixed for organized labor, such as losing the vote at the Amazon warehouses in Alabama. However, this is one scenario where the deck seems stacked against Paizo. Unless UPW is lying, they already have a majority of eligible employees, so Paizo will be fighting an uphill battle to win an election, and firing the employees in question would probably wreck them as they lose most of their talent (leaving aside what the NLRB will do to them).

I haven't been buying any Paizo products in a while, not out of principle, but I simply haven't been playing Pathfinder or Starfinder. However, should Paizo recognize the union, I will absolutely start buying Paizo products again.


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I know very little about the issues (just found out about the strike and the reasons behind it YESTERDAY), but good on the workers for unionizing! IMO a union should've been there from the start, but frustratingly that's not the norm in America. (though it should be)

Contributor

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Hi, everyone! There seems to be some confusion about the freelancer call for a diversity consultant, and what that means. As a freelancer, I would like to tell you what we were actually asking for.

Paizo hires sensitivity readers, as they should, to look at some of their material. As we continue into the future, the quantity of Paizo content that gets this kind of attention will increase.

There is work that needs to be done. You don't notice the absence of it because it's already being done by staff with a whole other full time jobs worth of duties. Currently, it's up to developers and editors to coordinate with sensitivity readers and raise concerns about content, ontop of their existing jobs.

In addition to coordinating with sensitivity readers, editorial worked their butts off trying to warn about Edgewatch, and then trying to clean up Edgewatch after their warnings went unheeded. Other projects have needed similar attention. Good people keep burning out and leaving because they care about making sure this work gets done, but they can't keep up with doing a whole additional unpaid job ontop of their actual one.

This is a full position worth of work, and it's being piled ontop of existing staff and contributing to the perpetual crunch on dev, design, and edit's shoulders, when it could be made into a formalized position within the editorial department, and become one person's clear job to handle.


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The Agents of Edgewatch situation was so rough, as was the total silence that followed. Fingers crossed for some real change to result now.


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Jessica Redekop wrote:

Hi, everyone! There seems to be some confusion about the freelancer call for a diversity consultant, and what that means. As a freelancer, I would like to tell you what we were actually asking for.

Paizo hires sensitivity readers, as they should, to look at some of their material. As we continue into the future, the quantity of Paizo content that gets this kind of attention will increase.

There is work that needs to be done. You don't notice the absence of it because it's already being done by staff with a whole other full time jobs worth of duties. Currently, it's up to developers and editors to coordinate with sensitivity readers and raise concerns about content, ontop of their existing jobs.

In addition to coordinating with sensitivity readers, editorial worked their butts off trying to warn about Edgewatch, and then trying to clean up Edgewatch after their warnings went unheeded. Other projects have needed similar attention. Good people keep burning out and leaving because they care about making sure this work gets done, but they can't keep up with doing a whole additional unpaid job ontop of their actual one.

This is a full position worth of work, and it's being piled ontop of existing staff and contributing to the perpetual crunch on dev, design, and edit's shoulders, when it could be made into a formalized position within the editorial department, and become one person's clear job to handle.

So... practically speaking, it would save money and labor in the long run by having a specialist handle these duties while simultaneously lowering burnout rates? Seems like an overall win to me.

Contributor

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Master Han Del of the Web wrote:
So... practically speaking, it would save money and labor in the long run by having a specialist handle these duties while simultaneously lowering burnout rates? Seems like an overall win to me.

Yeah, it's work that needs to be done, and work that's already being done, but it's not formally anyone's actual duty, which is frustrating and exploitative. What ultimately ends up happening is the staff who care the most passionately about preventing issues like Edgewatch step up and take the work of preventing (or cleaning up after) problems onto their own shoulders and trying to juggle it ontop of their actual jobs, without the support and time needed, and without the benefit of being treated like they're doing their job when they do it. They fight an uphill battle to get their words taken seriously, because they're just an editor, or just a developer, and not someone whose duties involve being concerned about this.


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Thanks for your transparency! This work is hard but it is GOOD work! My household certainly supports UPW and the freelancers in their efforts!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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This is awesome. Good for all who are working to make UPW happen. If this succeeds... it's not just a great win for the hardworking folks who produce the games we love in particular, but it will be history-making for the game industry in general. Hope that this turns out in the best way possible for everyone.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

My Characters: I want Guns and Gears and Grand Bazaar!

Me: We have Guns and Gears and Grand Bazaar at home.

The Guns and Gears and Grand Bazaar at home: https://ibb.co/stYPtwF

Oh, no! A rampant wizard has transmuted my order of the two new books into an order for UPW swag.
I hope Paizo recognizes the worker's organization soon so I can finally buy the new books.

Liberty's Edge

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Just popping in to say I support the workers and the union! Knowing the workers have more protections and can bargain collectively would make me feel better about purchasing from Paizo again (assuming management doesn’t try to block it. That would be a bad look)

https://youtu.be/K5PzJhU8iI0


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Steve Geddes wrote:
They’re not anyway. Rachael posted…

Grrr…spellchecker…

Sorry Raychael!


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Viviolay wrote:
(assuming management doesn’t try to block it. That would be a bad look)

It may or may not "be a bad look" depending on who Jeff, Lisa, and Eric* believe their audience is.

If you think that "being admired" is important to Lisa, Jeff, and Eric, then you have to ask "Admired by whom?"

The posts I've been reading from customers and active community members have all been focused on how Paizo will look in the eyes of the peons and the purchasers.

But corporate owners usually care more about how they look in the eyes of their peers. Are they "caving"? Are they the first domino? Are they the breach in the dam that lets the flood waters through?

From my perspective, it is not at all clear that Paizo's owners are willing to "look good" in the eyes of our self-defined 'community', if by doing so they loose the admiration and respect of their peers in the industry. We are obviously not their peers. Nor are the employees and freelancers who are putting their livelihoods on the line.

I don't know the identity of their peer group. But it's people they consider to be "on their level", not people who are beneath them. "Holding strong against worker unions" may be exactly the look they want to project. That may be a very good look indeed if they want the admiration of their peers.

*
I'm assuming that these are the three members of the board of directors that control corporate decisions at the ownership level. Obviously whether or not to accept the union is NOT a decision that management can take on its own. It must be officially accepted by the owners of the corporation.

I'm also assuming that the union organizers asked us to write to those three people because the organizers know who owns the corporation.

Contributor

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The executive team is 5 people. Lisa and Vic are co owners of the company. Jeff is the company president. Erik is the publisher and also CCO (chief creative officer). The CFO (chief financial officer) is also an executive. Paizo has had a temporary one named David since May 2020. He will be departing any day now while the new one, Ryan, takes over. Ryan will also be in charge of HR (when the last HR person left in January they never replaced them because David was temporary and they wanted any new CFO they got around to hiring to be involved with the hiring process since they would be in charge of that person). He will also be the new CTO (chief technical officer).


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Once more for the people in the back: HR is somebody who is there to protect the management from rowdy employees, not the other way round. HR alone won't solve anything, unless you consider an annual team-building getaway where people get drunk and at least one incident of sexual harassment happens as "solution".

Contributor

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To illustrate the toothy bags point here’s some info.

When the new HR person is hired Paizo will have had 4 HR people in as many years. Only 1 lasted a full year. One didn’t even last 4 months. When I started there was a joke that the soda machine was HR. It even had a sticky note on it that said HR on it. You tell it your issues and it may or may not give you a soda. It’s never just worked. You put in your quarter and maybe you get a soda. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you get 5 sodas. Maybe you get your quarter back. Maybe you get 15 quarters.

When there was an HR they were under the CFO, who was let go in early 2020. The biggest problem was that he was really problematic. Some staff had issues with him. He had no respect for CS or anyone who would work that job and he came by our area nearly every day to let us know that. He was directly responsible for a member of our team quitting. But there was nothing we could do because he had access to the HR email address and did monitor it. I called that number Jeff mentioned once. They told me that in order to investigate they needed my name. So at least at that time it wasn’t anonymous. The way they investigated was by calling that CFO, passing all that info to him, and asking him to investigate. He mentioned to me later that he got my complaint about him.

Since the most recent HR person left in January Jeff has been in charge of HR. The company president being HR is just…


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...an episode of The Office.

Contributor

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Yup. Hopefully unionizing and having great influence over the company culture can help reduce this sort of thing.


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This is great news. Since my Dragon/Dungeon subs lapsed, I have loved Paizo products, and my next game is likely to be PF2e.

I hope Paizo takes this opportunity to work with the staff. You all want the same thing: create great products, be profitable, and continue to do so in the future.


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The union has come out in support of trans rights.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Speaking as someone who has more than two decades of experience working in HR: when HR is "there to protect management from rowdy employees, not the other way round," that's a cultural expectation/problem established by the executive leadership. And most HR professionals worth their salt won't remain in that environment very long.

Quote:
When the new HR person is hired Paizo will have had 4 HR people in as many years. Only 1 lasted a full year. One didn’t even last 4 months.

Case in point.

Grand Lodge

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While I would agree there are certainly HR staff that, as individuals, place the well-being of the workers at the top of their "to do" list, my experience both as a worker and a manager is that generally, HR is there only to (1) ensure compliance with DoL, OSHA, internal rules, etc. and (2) protect the company from lawsuits and unnecessary unemployment claims. Employee well-being is only a concern as it relates to the above. YMMV


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thunderspirit wrote:

Speaking as someone who has more than two decades of experience working in HR: when HR is "there to protect management from rowdy employees, not the other way round," that's a cultural expectation/problem established by the executive leadership. And most HR professionals worth their salt won't remain in that environment very long.

Quote:
When the new HR person is hired Paizo will have had 4 HR people in as many years. Only 1 lasted a full year. One didn’t even last 4 months.
Case in point.

I mean sure, that's probably a sound cultural thing wherever you are. I'm not going to discount lived experience entirely but you only have to look at the scandals in a related industry, video games, to see how often HR ends up as a tool of the executives and nothing more. In the recent Ubisoft scandals, HR was actively responsible for protecting abusers from their victims, a complete reverse from your take on the position.

At the end of the day, HR is beholden to the executives and not the workers and when a company's executives go fully rotten, HR goes with them. Heck, it's even called 'Human Resources' not 'Accountability and Conflict Resolution' or 'Internal Complaints'. It is about make the 'resources' (in this case humans) work effectively and profitably.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Diego Valdez wrote:

To illustrate the toothy bags point here’s some info.

When the new HR person is hired Paizo will have had 4 HR people in as many years. Only 1 lasted a full year. One didn’t even last 4 months. When I started there was a joke that the soda machine was HR. It even had a sticky note on it that said HR on it. You tell it your issues and it may or may not give you a soda. It’s never just worked. You put in your quarter and maybe you get a soda. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you get 5 sodas. Maybe you get your quarter back. Maybe you get 15 quarters.

When there was an HR they were under the CFO, who was let go in early 2020. The biggest problem was that he was really problematic. Some staff had issues with him. He had no respect for CS or anyone who would work that job and he came by our area nearly every day to let us know that. He was directly responsible for a member of our team quitting. But there was nothing we could do because he had access to the HR email address and did monitor it. I called that number Jeff mentioned once. They told me that in order to investigate they needed my name. So at least at that time it wasn’t anonymous. The way they investigated was by calling that CFO, passing all that info to him, and asking him to investigate. He mentioned to me later that he got my complaint about him.

Since the most recent HR person left in January Jeff has been in charge of HR. The company president being HR is just…

Here is a thought. Maybe Paizo should restructure to have an Executive Committee instead of CEO. Have a rep from each department serve on the committee. This gives everyone more input and insight into the company and to help make the right decisions. When a CEO is needed they can elect someone to be say the Executive Director to handle CEO duties as needed.


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Full support to the UPW. I ended my rulebook subscription prior to this information coming out, but I will happily resubscribe in the event of Union recognition.

Also, horrifying info, Diego. Wow.

Verdant Wheel

Yes!!!

Verdant Wheel

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So happy with this news that i will make an effort and buy the Grand Bazar Book right now (this month was hard ... G&G , Book 3 and 4 Strength of Thousands). But i want to support Paizo, especially the Workers.

Liberty's Edge

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