Microsoft is now home to the biggest alliance push in gaming

The Microsoft logo hangs in front of the green grid.

Picture: Microsoft / Kotaku

The gaming industry’s recent wave of organized labor has just exploded. About 300 quality assurance staff at ZeniMax movie studioincluding Bethesda and games like Scrolls online , announced today that it will merge with Communications Workers USA. And unlike the union drive at Activision BlizzardMicrosoft, which bought ZeniMax in its 2021 acquisition of Bethesda, said it would not stand in the way.

“We applaud Microsoft for staying neutral during this process and letting workers decide for themselves whether they want to form a union,” CWA President Christopher Shelton said in a press release. . “The company is delivering on the commitments it made in its labor guidelines earlier this year, while sending a message that resonates with the video game industry: freedom and fairness give the choice of union representation should be in the hands of workers, not management.”

According to TTK, also held a quality assurance meeting stores at Raven Software and Blizzard Albany, ZeniMax managers have been explicitly instructed by Microsoft to remain neutral during a process that will involve 300 developers in four offices in Maryland and Texas or sign a union card or vote on it. an electronic portal in the next month. After majority support, the union then looks set to be recognized by Microsoft and become the largest union to date as employees in the games industry seek more power in the workplace.

Read more: Loss of lives in Fallout 76’s disastrous premiere

QA staff are some of the lowest paid, overworked, and most precarious at major game companies, and the folks at ZeniMax are no exception. Like Kotaku report earlier this yearthose involved in the difficult development of fallout 76 has faced long periods of crisis and even health problems that are believed to stem from long periods of overwork. Through their new union, called ZeniMax Workers United, the group says it wants to address issues around scheduling, pay and management accountability.

The original Microsoft fulfill your commitment remains neutral on union issues as part of efforts to reach a $69 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard that has been approved by regulators. The CWA has stated its support for the merger as the move comes as consolidation efforts also increase in other parts of the technology, including at Apple and Google. But the real test of Microsoft’s insight into labor organization will come to the bargaining table as ZeniMax workers seek to negotiate wages, benefits, and other working conditions as part of a contract. their first coin.


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