The world of tabletop gaming and the growing stresses of the retail industry overlap today. It was recently announced that the Bellevue location of Mox Boarding House have intentions of forming a union with the Communication Workers of America. This chain of stores are unique since they are a hybrid of restaurant, event center, and tabletop game store.
Why is Mox Boarding House Bellevue Unionizing?
This call for Mox Boarding House Bellevue's unionization came from an open letter posted by the Bellevue Mox Organized Workers Twitter account. In this letter, the workers behind this organization made their intentions clear about why they were unionizing under with CWA. It opens stating that the Bellevue MOW believe that gaming should be a campfire for all, a "warmth and joy to be shared and celebrated." Considering that Mox Boarding House is owned by Card Kingdom, one of the largest retailers for Magic: The Gathering in the world, this passion for the hobby and medium is apparent. As the letter continues, however, the stresses of the workers are made known.
As it stands, however, we do not feel a party to the warmth and protection of the campfire. Poor retention of staff at the ground level shows us that this is universal across all divisions of the company. We find ourselves crowded together splitting cramped apartments, working second jobs and splitting meals just to barely make rent. Stories of being harassed, cornered and harshly judged by management have become normal.
The open letter also contains a list of demands by the Belluvue MOW. These demands include a "genuine Seattle metro living wage for all positions," minimum restaurant staffing requirements during rest and meal periods, as well as protections against furloughs and layoffs in cases of natural disasters and events including the ongoing perils of COVID-19. Card Kingdom has until June 24 to recognize this union.
The Importance of Mox Boarding House Bellevue Unionizing
The push for Mox Boarding House Bellevue unionizing is a direct response to ongoing socioeconomic issues around the world. For those selling tabletop games, the rising cost of goods is leading to increased cost of physical materials and shipping, whether it is miniatures or playing cards. For tabletop game developers, unions are beginning to be recognized for their invaluable contribution to the industry. Finally, there is the ongoing problem of retail workers, specifically those in the service industry, being greatly understaffed with reduced hours or overworked employees becoming the norm.