Roughly 300 quality assurance staff working at ZeniMax announced they will unionize with the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Microsoft, which purchased ZeniMax in 2021, will stay neutral to uphold its pledge on union matters as part of the pending Activision-Blizzard acquisition.
The QA developers unionizing, spread across Bethesda and other studios underneath ZeniMax, are working on titles such as Elder Scrolls Online and Starfield. Aptly named "ZeniMax Workers United," the union group aims to address problems around scheduling, pay, and accountability by management with Microsoft.
So far, Microsoft has remained committed to staying neutral throughout this process. As we vote over the next 4 weeks in our democratic election, we hope that you will support our journey towards building lasting positive change for workers, gamers & the industry as a whole.
— ZeniMax Workers United - CWA (@ZeniMaxWorkers) December 5, 2022
Since the launch of ZWU's union with the CWA, Microsoft has stayed clear out of the way. According to the CWA, Microsoft told ZeniMax managers to remain neutral during the process. Over the upcoming four weeks, QA devs from all US offices will either sign union cards or vote through an electronic portal. If Microsoft recognizes the union group following a majority rule, ZWU will become the largest of its kind throughout the gaming industry.
“We applaud Microsoft for remaining neutral through this process and letting workers decide for themselves whether they want a union,” CWA President Christopher Shelton announced in a press release. “The company is fulfilling the commitments they laid out in their labor principals earlier this year, while sending a resounding message to the video game industry: the right to freely and fairly make a choice about union representation should be in the hands of the workers, not management.”
One anonymous QA developer told Kotaku that "more pay" is the "main issue for most of us." They continue: "The benefits are fine I just don't make enough money for them to matter."
About the Author
Anthony Jones is a gaming journalist and late 90s kid in love with retro games and the evolution of modern gaming. He started at Mega Visions as a news reporter covering the latest announcements, rumors, and fan-made projects. FFXIV has his heart in the MMORPGs scene, but he's always excited to analyze and lose hours to ambitious and ambiguous MMOs that gamers follow.
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