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Avalanche Studios devs form bargaining agreement with Swedish unions

Avalanche Studios CEO Stefanía Halldórsdóttir said the bargaining agreements help the studio "[become] one of the best workplaces in the games industry."

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

April 12, 2024

2 Min Read
Rico Rodriguez in Just Cause 4.
Image via Avalanche Software/Square Enix.

At a Glance

  • Six months after announcing its plans to unionize, Avalanche Studios has locked in a two-year contract for its Swedish staff.

Developers at Avalanche Software have successfully unionized. The Swedish developer entered a collective bargaining agreement with trade groups Unionen and the Engineers of Sweden.

Last year, over 100 developers (or one-fifth of staff) at the Just Cause studio formed a group through Unionen. At the time, workers were negotiating with Avalanche leadership.

The contract starts in the second quarter of 2025, after which it runs for two years before negotiations begin again. It applies to all Sweden-based staff specifically, and "standardizes frameworks" around areas like salary and benefits.

Specific union benefits weren't listed, but it's worth remembering one of the topics during negotiations was switching to a four-day work week.

"Over the past years, we’ve taken significant steps toward making Avalanche one of the best workplaces in the games industry," wrote Avalanche Studios Group CEO Stefanía Halldórsdóttir. "We hope that signing a CBA will be yet another step in that same direction.”

Halldórsdóttir went on to say Avalanche will take its time working with Unionen and the Engineers to implement its new frameworks. She stressed the studio needed to do this "the right way," and that it'd benefit both the studio and its projects.

All studios need unions sooner rather than later

Within the last several years, some developers have had to fight hard for unionization. But even then, layoffs and sometimes turmoil from acquisitions and new owners can greatly undermine those efforts.

Unions have never been needed more than now, something many unionized developers have pointed out. It's not a full shield from the industry's problems, but it can give staff an extra layer of protection and agency in their studio's decisions.

Collective action is the name of the game, and it helps that Avalanche leaders seem to recognize its benefits. In making the studio a great place to work, Halldórsdóttir hopes the CBA will "be yet another step in that same direction."

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About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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