Microsoft Recognizes ZeniMax Studios Union Following ‘Supermajority’ Vote
A large majority of quality assurance workers at ZeniMax Studios, which includes studios like id Software, Arkane, and Bethesda, have voted to join the ZeniMax Workers United/Communication Workers of America union.
Approximately 300 QA employees at ZeniMax voted to indicate they wish to join this union, equating to a supermajority vote, and Microsoft has chosen to recognize it. This is consistent with what Microsoft said last month, when it announced that if these workers vote to join a union, it will voluntarily recognize the union. ZeniMax is the first studio under the Microsoft umbrella of teams to unionize and is now also the largest group of unionized QA testers of any US-based studio.
“Before us is an opportunity to make big changes and bring equity to the video game industry,” writes senior QA tester Victoria Banos in a CWA press release. “We want to end sudden periods of crisis, unfair wages and lack of growth opportunities within the company. Our union will push for truly competitive wages, better communication between management and workers, a clear path to those who want to advance their careers and more”.
CWA writes that QA employees across various ZeniMax teams “have been organizing for months to positively transform ZeniMax for the benefit of the workers, the company, and the players who enjoy the studio’s games.” These workers began signing union authorization cards (you can sign one and submit it or vote through an online portal) in November, and the official voting process began on December 2nd and closed on December 31st.
In accordance with published labor principles, Microsoft has remained neutral throughout the process, according to the CWA, allowing workers to make their own decisions about unionization.
“Microsoft has fulfilled its commitment to its employees and let them decide for themselves whether they want a union,” CWA President Chris Shelton wrote in the press release. “Other video game and technology giants have made a conscious choice to attack, undermine and demoralize their employees when they band together to form a union. Microsoft is charting a different course that will strengthen its culture of corporation and the ability to serve its customers and should serve as a model for the industry and as a blueprint for regulators.”
Senior QA tester at ZeniMax, Dylan Burton, writes that it’s hard to put into words how important this unionization victory is.
“We know this is not the end of our hard work, but reaching this milestone gives us confidence that when workers stick together, we can accomplish anything we set our minds to,” Burton wrote.
ZeniMax Workers United joins other companies like Activision and Apple that have organized through the CWA.