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CODE-CWA Press & Updates

Independent Studio Tender Claws and the Tender Claws Human Union Reach Tentative Collective Bargaining Agreement

December 7, 2023


In the spirit of collaboration, Tender Claws and the Communication Workers of America Local 9003 are proud to have reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement for the Tender Claws Human Union - one of the first union contracts for video game developers in the US. Tender Claws management granted the union voluntary recognition on July 22, 2022, and the parties have been in bargaining since February 2023. We are proud to be signing a fair, highly innovative agreement that solidifies our shared values and dedication to each other.


In a first for CWA 9003, both parties agreed to use an “open bargaining model” where all workers of the bargaining unit were able to attend meetings and draft contract language. The result was a highly engaged bargaining process and a democratic contract which addresses the needs and concerns of all workers.

The contract includes 50 articles across over 60 pages. Among these proposals, we are most proud of:


  • Clearly defined pay scales based on seniority and job title, and a formal structure for career progression, along with immediate wage increases weighted towards reducing pay gaps between positions.


  • Codifying LGBTQIA+ inclusive benefits including lived name and pronoun policy and expanding legal notions of the family to include chosen family for family care leave.

  • New benefits including dental insurance, a vision care stipend, a 401k plan, life insurance, and an education stipend for all union members. 


  • Codifying articles specific to the games industry including a company equipment policy, repetitive stress injury protection, and virtual reality breaks.


“With our roots as a collaborative art studio, Tender Claws has always been committed to creating an inclusive and supportive workplace. We see this agreement as another step in fostering a positive work environment. We look forward to continuing to produce innovative projects together,” commented Danny Cannizzaro and Samantha Gorman, Tender Claws Co-Founders.


“We are so incredibly proud to have reached the end of this process,” said Robin LoBuglio, a game developer at Tender Claws. “Tender Claws workers have always taken care of each other.. I am deeply grateful for my many amazing colleagues who worked hard to make this historic contract happen.”


This agreement represents our continued commitment to the collaborative, diverse, and flexible work environment envisioned at Tender Claws.