Quality Assurance workers at Zenimax, the Microsoft subsidiary that owns Bethesda, Id Software, and other studios have announced that they will be forming a union.
Over 3000 QA workers have voted to unionize, and join the Communications Workers of America (CWA). This currently makes them the largest video game development union in the USA.
The union has also been voluntarily recognized by Microsoft who have responded positively to the formation. This will make the Zenimax workers the first union among Microsoft employees.
Happy New Year! We won our union!
— ZeniMax Workers United – CWA (@ZeniMaxWorkers) January 3, 2023
“We’re thrilled to kick off 2023 in a workplace that’s stronger and more equitable than it was last year,” said Skylar Hinnant, Senior QA Tester II, Rockville. “This is an empowering victory that allows us to protect ourselves and each other in a way we never could without a union. Our hope and belief are that this is the year in which game workers across the country exercise their power and reshape the industry as a whole.”
“Before us is an opportunity to make big changes and bring equity to the video game industry. We want to put an end to sudden periods of crunch, unfair pay, and lack of growth opportunities within the company. Our union will push for truly competitive pay, better communication between management and workers, a clear path for those that want to progress their career, and more,” said Victoria Banos, Senior QA Audio Tester, Hunt Valley.
Additionally, while larger parent corporations like Amazon, Apple, and Activision-Blizzard have been accused of using illegal methods to prevent workers from uniting, Zenimax’s parent company Microsoft has seemingly welcomed the movement. In response to PC Gamer, a spokesperson for Microsoft has made the following statement:
“In light of the results of the recent unionization vote, we recognize the Communications Workers of America (CWA) as the bargaining representative for the Quality Assurance employees at ZeniMax. We look forward to engaging in good faith negotiations as we work towards a collective bargaining agreement.”
CWA President Chris Shelton praised Microsoft’s approval of the Zenimax union and states that it will serve as a model for the industry:
“Microsoft has lived up to its commitment to its workers and let them decide for themselves whether they want a union. Other video game and tech giants have made a conscious choice to attack, undermine, and demoralize their own employees when they join together to form a union. Microsoft is charting a different course which will strengthen its corporate culture and ability to serve its customers and should serve as a model for the industry and as a blueprint for regulators.”
It’s great to see a more positive response to unionization and as Microsoft says, we hope this will lead to better negotiations that benefit both parties.
Zenimax is currently working on several highly anticipated video games which include Bethesda’s Starfield, Elder Scrolls VI, and a new Indiana Jones game, as well as Arkane Studios’ Redfall.
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