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EA Spouse Outed 104

Posted by Zonk
from the hope-someone-still-has-their-job dept.
patio11 writes "EA Spouse, who sparked a revolution (or, at least, a wave of lawsuits and promises for improvement) in the game development industry with a blog post decrying labor practices at Electronics Arts, was outed as Erin Hoffman in a Mercury News article. She and then-fiance, now-husband Leander Hasty were plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits against EA and continue to develop games and be activists for better working conditions for game developers." From the article: "More than a year later, game developers have won settlements in three class-action lawsuits alleging EA created exhausting work schedules without paying overtime and successfully pressed employers to ease unrelenting workloads. And EA Spouse, whose true identity has been cloaked until now, is becoming a voice against America's culture of overwork."
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EA Spouse Outed

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  • Re:entitlement (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tweek (18111) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @12:04PM (#15212953) Homepage Journal
    Explain why you are "entitled" to reasonable work hours? You aren't even "entitled" to a job. There is nothing, at least in the U.S. Constitution, that says you are entitled to a job. A job is a contract. You are free to negotiate the terms of that contract. You are also free to find another job if you no longer like the terms of that contract. Furthermore, define reasonable. Is it reasonable to work a 14 hour day because a server has crashed and must be up again by tomorrow or the company loses millions? To the company it is. Maybe not to you.

    Now, having said that, does it behoove a company to pay overtime or to not work employees to death with 80 hour work weeks? Sure. The cost of training a new employee because you burned out the previous one is high. There's also the ramp-up time that a project can be delayed. People also get sloppy when the get run-down. How many bugs are missed because people have been working for 14 hours a day?

    It's all about enlightened self-interest. If I were running the show, I would expect my employees to, barring issues out of thier control, take one for the team during crunch time. I would expect all of my team members to do that. And when crunch time is over, they all get a nice break and a bonus (based on performance during the crunch time). This is just good for morale.

    I'd be curious to see what you think people ARE entitled to in life. At least in my mind, the only unalienable rights are these:

    Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness

    Notice that it doesn't say Life, Liberty and Happiness. It says the pursuit of Happiness.

    Now let's say you take the approach that lack of "reasonable" work hours impedes those unalienable rights. How so? Will you lose your life if you don't work those hours? No. Are you being held hostage and forced to work those hours unable to quit? No.

    But let's take pursuit of Happiness. Now obviously working 14 hour days makes it difficult to have a hobby. Or get married. Or hang out with friends. My pursuit of happinness is being impeded!

    It makes it difficult to do all of those things but it doesn't prevent it. As with the other two, nothing is FORCING you to stay with that company. Sure, you may feel trapped by a poor job market or lifestyle/family choices that will put you in a bind if you leave the current salary or position but as with the other two you aren't being FORCED.

    It's all about personal freedom. And about taking responsibility for choices. And taking responsibility for lack of action.

    If someone wants to bring attention to EA's working conditions, more power to them. If EA's working conditions cause a shitty product, it's thier own fault. Let the market decide. Let people have the individual freedom to decide how to handle it.

    Just my $1.35.
  • by creimer (824291) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @12:13PM (#15213042) Homepage
    When I was working at Atari, the QA supervisors would tell the testers that if they didn't like their work conditions, they can go work for Taco Bell down the street. They stopped saying that when it became obvious that Taco Bell does have better working conditions at a slightly higher pay rate that some of the entry-level testers were making. They started losing senior people when Sony was paying $20/hr instead of $16/hr. Go figure.
  • by blincoln (592401) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @12:21PM (#15213130) Homepage Journal
    I know someone on welfare who is brilliant and would love to have a job instead.

    Unfortunately, she is legally unable to look for a job as long as she's on welfare. She can't go off of it to look for a job because some necessary medication she takes is hundreds or thousands of dollars a month, and even if she did get a full-time job that had medical insurance, a lot of places make you wait awhile before you're covered. It's a catch-22.

    I'm sure it's always worth a laugh for some people to take cheap shots at welfare recipients, but the reality is not often the way you may think.
  • Re:entitlement (Score:4, Interesting)

    by corbettw (214229) <corbettw@noSpAm.yahoo.com> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @12:38PM (#15213327) Journal
    Yeah, except that Europeans tend to be more productive per hour than Americans.

    Really? According to the CIA World Fact Book, the US has a GDP of $12,410,000,000,000, compared to Europe's $12,180,000,000,000 (all figures in US dollars). Contrast that with Europe's population of 456,953,258 against the US's 298,444,215. That gives the us a per capital product of $41,582.31 against Europe's $26,654.81. So far it looks like the US is more productive.

    Let's look closer. The European Union has a labor force of 218,500,000, compared to the US's 149,300,000. Leaving out the unemployment rates for each group (9.4% vs. 5.1%), we're left with 197,961,000 workers in Europe compared to 141,685,700 in the US. We'll leave that for a moment.

    According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workweek [wikipedia.org], which sites a spreadsheet from OECD, workers in the US work an average of 1777 hours per year. Taking the average of the EU member states (the spreadsheet only lists individual countries), we get 1576.33 hours per year.

    So, the US has a total of 251,775,488,900 work-hours per year, giving an average of $49.29 gross product per work hour. Europe has 312,051,863,130 work-hours per year, giving an average of $39.03 per work hour.

    I'm sorry, who's more productive did you say?
  • by sesshomaru (173381) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @02:39PM (#15214716) Journal
    Most Americans don't really believe in capitalism anyway. I'll give you an example. I'm tired of my current job, and I've saved up enough to buy a Lincoln Towncar [lincoln.com]. "Ok," I think, "I'll quit my job, and I'll charge people for rides to various places in my brand new Lincoln Towncar. I'll keep my current beater for personal driving."

    Eeeerk! "I'm sorry, " says average American, "You can't do that. In fact, we've passed laws against it."

    "But why," I ask, "I have a perfect driving record!"

    "Well, " says the average American, "It isn't safe, you'll need a special license. You'll also have to pay super high taxes, to the point where it won't be economically feasable for you to do this as a business. Oh, and we can't have just any car being used to ferry people from here to there, you'll need a Taxi medallion. We limit those, and even if you could get one (and you can't) it'll cost you."

    "How do I know you speak for all Americans? " says I.

    "Well, after all, this is a democracy, we wouldn't have passed all those laws if we wanted any old person to be able to run their own cab company."

    "I think you just passed all those laws to protect the income of the cab companies," says I.

    "Well, prove it! If you can prove it, maybe you'll be able to change enough people's minds to get the law changed. I wouldn't count on it though, the established cab companies have quite a large lobbying budget."

    "Yay, capitalism, " I say, weakly.

    "Yes, yay capitalism, now get back to work," says the average American.

    Real Life Example: Illegal Charters [harbourislandguide.com]

  • Re:entitlement (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ggwood (70369) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @04:24PM (#15215564) Homepage Journal
    I've heard other (European? Japanese?) workers are more productive per hour then America's so often that it's sort of become an ingrained assumption for me. However, I find your numbers persuasive. I think the difference is that your numbers are for the whole economy and specific studies are done in, say, the auto industry or something.

    If both you and the studies I've heard are correct, it would seem Americans choose to work in more productive fields, on average.

    I'm not an economist - but the people I've heard from are. I'm suggesting a way both you and what I've heard could both be correct.

    Next time I run into any of my macroeconomist friends, I'll run your argument by them.

Mirrors should reflect a little before throwing back images. -- Jean Cocteau

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