A New Union Forms Involving QA Workers At BioWare QA Partner Keywords Studios: Edmonton
The company fully supports their employees in this decision.
QA workers at Activision Blizzard recently voted to unionize, creating the very first major labor union at a large U.S. video game company. Now, it looks like Canada is joining in, as QA workers at Keywords Studios: Edmonton, a company that supports BioWare projects, have unanimously voted to form a union.
Unlike Activision Blizzard–who tried many anti-union tactics–Keywords Studios had this to say regarding the QA workers vote to form a union: “Keywords Studios accepts the vote of the 16 Edmonton staff who have chosen to unionize. We value our people and will continue to constantly strive to be a good employer. As an organization we want to ensure an engaging experience for all of our employees, and we take any concerns that our staff have seriously. We will continue to have an ongoing dialogue with all individuals in the Edmonton team, as we move forward together, always learning and improving.”
It seems that there are at least some gaming companies who truly want to be a good employer. The QA workers first started talking about unionization in March after the studio started asking for their employees to return to the office. With gas prices on the rise, commuting to work was adding extra cost to an already low wage. On top of that, if an employee were to develop COVID-19 symptoms, with no paid time off, this could possibly create an even more dangerous financial situation for the QA workers. Thus, the idea to form a union, create positive change, and continue to do the work that they love began.
QA workers are pushing to change the video game industry, and this union case most definitely won’t be the last. Hopefully the industry will take note of this case, try to have conversations with their employees, and offer a little bit of empathy and understanding during these difficult times. If readers would like to read more about this story, please check out the post on Polygon’s site.
About the Author
Aspen is an avid gamer and Twitch streamer currently residing in Japan. She is most attracted to games narrative design and is a huge fan of player choice in games. If Aspen is not playing games, she is most certainly writing about them.
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