Monday, March 14, 2005

"Here's a bone, suckers," says EA

Is antone still out there? If so, read this: Gamasutra - News

My favorite part: Rusty Rueff sez, "The employment environment at EA was built to allow you flexibility as professionals, with the expectation that time on the job could be managed without watching the clock. Unfortunately, labor laws have not kept pace with this spirit of entrepreneurialism, innovation and creativity."

Goddamnit, Rusty. You just don't get it. When you have so many of your employees casting about looking for fairness, you come up with this shit. So now, any employees eligable for overtime pay become hourly workers with a strict schedule and "very structured work days." Now, anyone who accepts overtime pay is no longer eligible for bonuses or options.

Damnit, Rusty. You and EA are criminal geniuses.

EA's options are violently worthwhile. The company, despite its inner evil, makes money hand over fist. Its games sell a lot, and thus its bonuses are pretty high. Is that worth more than the appropriate overtime? Nah. Does it make going hourly a tough sell for an employee? You betcha.

Adding up my crunch time, I'd say I have... roughly more than 500 hours of overtime in the last seven months. If I were making $8/hour normally (I assume I make more than that), that overtime would come out to $6000 assuming time-and-a-half. The EA employees making the fuss were probably working more like 80 hours a week, so $13,420. That's on a wage that is approaching minimum. I imagine that the folks at EA would be getting at least $40/hour with time-and-a-half based on their current salaries. Now we're talking huge money.

Now, EA will take this into account. They will do complex calculations to make sure they aren't paying their employees that much money. They'd probably take the amount they pay someone now and figure out how much that is per hour for an 80-hour week, then work it out from there. Without painting EA as evil, it just makes sense. After all, we're talking about paying each hourly employee another 50% or so of his or her salary.

So, EA employees, look this over closely, and don't believe Rusty Rueff's bullshit about how this is an insult to you. What you're essentially doing is giving up the ability to amble in at 10 am in return for what is likely to be notably more money. MAKE EA pay you overtime, folks. The industry is watching you, and all of us who worked all the extra hours are cheering for you. Rusty Rueff makes it look like the evil California labor laws are trying to bring you down. Don't listen. Don't move to Florida. Don't let them showhorn you into a sweatshop. Because man, if you leave EA, there are tons of good places that would love to hire an old EA guy. Seriously.

Dude, win. Because until there's a union for game developers, you are the little guys' only hope.