ZeniMax Workers United, which is a group of QA workers at ZeniMax Studios in Maryland and Texas, have declared for unionization. The group, like Activision Blizzard’s unionized QA workers, will be represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA).
This is notable for the number of workers involved, which totals about 300 testers who work at ZeniMax Studios, which includes Bethesda (and games like The Elder Scrolls Online). Distinction about this Union is that Microsoft, which owns ZeniMax Studios after acquiring Bethesda in early 2021, has vowed to take a neutral position towards collective bargaining and not engage in any union busting or deterrence. The company also said that, should its employees choose to unionize, it would recognize the unionization effort.
Microsoft’s neutrality was praised by CWA President Christopher Shelton, who said that “We applaud Microsoft for remaining neutral through this process and letting workers decide for themselves whether they want a union”.
ZeniMax Workers United shared via its official Twitter account that, “Having a seat at the table will ensure we receive fair compensation for the work that we do. A union on the job will protect us and make sure our passion isn’t taken for granted”. They also detailed some of what is to come in the overall process, including a full formal vote over the next several weeks. The 300 developers, who work across different offices, should a majority sign union cards and declare for the union, Microsoft will recognize it.
Today we, a majority of QA workers at ZeniMax, are proud to announce the launch of our union with @CWAunion. We are the first group of workers at Microsoft to formally unionize. We are empowered to advocate for ourselves & build a future where we can thrive alongside the company— ZeniMax Workers United - CWA (@ZeniMaxWorkers) December 5, 2022
Once things are established, they will represent the biggest unionization push so far in the gaming industry, and the first group of workers to form a union at Microsoft.
The ZeniMax Workers United statement included a look towards the future and mote potential, “We know we have a unique opportunity to be trailblazers for a new era of the game industry and we don't take this lightly".
UPDATE: We have received the following statement from a Microsoft spokesperson on the developments:
“The recent organizing efforts of ZeniMax employees, and Microsoft and ZeniMax's neutrality toward this, are an example of our labor principles in action. We remain committed to providing employees with an opportunity to freely and fairly make choices about their workplace representation.”