Overnight, Snoopeh, jungler for Evil Geniuses and all-round top bloke, has come out saying that he thinks a player union would be a good idea. This has brought on a range of comments from people within the eSports community. Most comments seem to revolve around whether players waging war against team owners/Riot would be a good/feasible thing, and given that unions in the rest of life seem to hell-bent on a combination of rent seeking, class warfare and (at least in Australia) maintaining their monopoly on their patch of union turf, it seems pretty reasonable to be skeptical.
However, it doesn’t need to be this way in my view. I think there is a way of having player unions that don’t revolve around what traditional unions do in the US/Australia. If I were to run a player union, and it is something I would love to do, I would run it more along the lines of a friendly society. Friendly societies, from what I understand, were a mainstay of working life prior to the formation of massive government welfare programs. Essentially, people would pool their money to provide for insurance of various sorts, as well as banking and a whole range of other services. There was some times a social aspect to it too, with regular meetings for members where they could provide support to each other. Friendly societies enabled cooperation and mutual assistance for working people.