A Game That Techies Can’t Beat: “Dream Crusher” Sheds Light on the Hidden Lives of Tech Service Workers Who Struggle to Get By

SAN JOSE, Calif., April 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today SEIU United Service Workers West is launching an interactive online game, Dream Crusher, in which players face the challenge of making ends meet on a security officer’s income of roughly $22,605 a year—well below the $77,261 that is needed for a family with two parents and two children in Silicon Valley. The creators of the game intend to transport techies away from their plush offices and into the Bay Area communities that are locked out of the prosperity from the recent tech boom.  

Players are forced to make tough budget decisions that mimic real life but are often overlooked by workers who are showered with perks in the tech industry—such as choosing between covering childcare costs or making a car payment.

Features of the game include:

  • The option to play under the constraints of a family or individual’s budget
  • Multiple opportunities to rearrange a worker’s monthly budget to meet his basic needs
  • Monthly household expenses derived from statistical data, including housing and education
  • Video interviews with real-life security officers who struggle to get by in Silicon Valley

“I care about the workers and communities I protect, but I don’t know if most people in the tech industry understand the hardships we go through every day to provide for our families,” said Silicon Valley security officer Tom Gozzo. “I’ve done my part to contribute to the success of Silicon Valley, but the prosperity from the recent economic boom has yet to reach most families in our community. This game reflects that reality.”

The new website that houses Dream Crusher, www.TechCanDoBetter.org, also aims to garner tech worker support for improving low-wage jobs in Silicon Valley.  While tech companies pride themselves on developing innovative solutions to the global economy’s most complex problems, Silicon Valley still hasn’t tackled the most glaring issue in its own backyard: destabilizing income inequality amid rapid economic growth.

“Who is benefitting from the tech boom and who isn’t? What can we do to help members of our community who have fallen on hard times? Those are the questions we want tech workers to ask when they finished playing the game. This new website provides an opportunity for tech workers to lend a helping hand by pledging their support for security officers and their families who are paving the way for a better life,” said Sam Kehinde, Stand for Security campaign director.  

More than 5,000 Silicon Valley security officers have been coming together to form a union. Bay Area security officers have repeatedly called on Apple, Google and other tech companies to use a responsible security contractor that will support good, full-time jobs and permits its workers the freedom to form a union in order to win a contract that will allow families to thrive and succeed.

Visit www.TechCanDoBetter.org to play Dream Crusher and learn more about how tech-industry security officers are standing up for good, steady jobs in the community.

SOURCE SEIU United Service Workers West

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