Microsoft’s ZeniMax Studios employees have chosen to establish the first labour union for the software behemoth in the US. According to the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union, a “supermajority” of employees at the video game development studio expressed support for the proposal, leading Microsoft to recognize the group.
ZeniMax owns well-known video games such as Fallout and The Elder Scrolls.
Last year, Microsoft said it wanted to buy Activision Blizzard.
The government filed a lawsuit to stop the merger because it thought it would hurt competition.
As part of its efforts to garner approval for that merger, which would be one of the largest in corporate history, Microsoft had agreed with the CWA to refrain from taking sides in labour disputes.
The people who work at Microsoft’s ZeniMax Studios have decided to start the first union for the software giant in the US.
According to the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union, a “supermajority” of video game development studio employees said they supported the proposal. This made Microsoft recognize the group.
ZeniMax owns popular video games like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls.
It comes after a surge in US unionization attempts.
Apple, Amazon, and Google are also US companies that have had labor disputes recently. This is because employees want more from their bosses. After all, the cost of living is going up.
According to the CWA, union efforts typically draw vehement corporate opposition.
The first US union formed by Apple employees
According to Chris Shelton, president of CWA, “other video game and IT firms have made a determined effort to attack, undermine, and demoralize their people when they join together to create a union.”
According to Mr. Shelton, “Microsoft is taking a different path that will strengthen its corporate culture and capacity to serve its customers and should serve as an example for the industry and a guide for regulators.”
The CWA says that ZeniMax Studios, which made the popular first-person shooter DOOM, is the first studio in Microsoft’s US headquarters to get union representation. It will also have the most quality assurance testers of any US game studio.
About 300 people who work in quality assurance in Texas and Maryland will be part of the group.
Activists said they were hopeful that a union, which lets workers bargain collectively about things like pay and working conditions, would help them get better jobs, stop unfair pay practices, and work less when times are tough.
If Microsoft agrees to talk with unionized employees, it can avoid a formal process overseen by the US National Labor Relations Board that often leads to lawsuits.
The CWA has also supported Activision Blizzard’s unionization activities. The business has opposed the initiatives.
Last year, Microsoft said it wanted to buy Activision Blizzard. The government filed a lawsuit to stop the merger because it thought it would hurt competition.
As part of its plan to get that merger, one of the biggest in business history, approved, Microsoft and the CWA agreed that neither company would take sides in labor disputes.
An official from Microsoft declined to comment on how the new union would impact business practices at the company.
“We look forward to negotiating in good faith as we work toward a collective bargaining agreement,” the spokeswoman said.
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network