Unions in the game industry have become a hot topic as of late, with ongoing efforts at Activision Blizzard being a high profile battle for labor in an industry that has never really had a real unionization movement. Nintendo itself was the subject of multiple labor complaints last year. And in the midst of all this, hundreds of QA testers at ZeniMax Studios (which includes Bethesda, iD, and Arcane under its umbrella) have voted to create ZeniMax Workers United/Communications Workers of America, which is now the largest union in the game industry by a wide margin
A group of about 300 QA workers at ZeniMax (Bethesda) have voted to form a new union — particularly noteworthy that Microsoft recognized the union without a fight, in contrast to Activision Blizzard, which has fought union efforts as much as it can. Next up: contract negotiations pic.twitter.com/vTcAR5q431
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) January 3, 2023
In additional good news, Microsoft – who bought out ZeniMax in 2021 – has immediately recognized the union without resistance, in stark contrast to Activision Blizzard and other notorious unionbusters like Amazon. This is in line with a neutrality agreement Microsoft entered into with the CWA, stating they’ll be hands off with union efforts and accept whatever the workers decide. While big corporations are never the heroes in these stories (that honor belongs to the workers standing in solidarity with one another to unite for better conditions), it’s still nice to see Microsoft stick to their word and recognize the union without a fight.
From here, the next phase for the ZWU is contract negotiations with Microsoft. Hopefully this record-setting achievement emboldens more people throughout the game industry to stand up for their workers’ rights.
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