Unionizing ZeniMax QA workers claim ‘death from a thousand cuts’ thanks to crunch and low pay

    
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Earlier this week, over 300 QA workers employed by ZeniMax, including those who work at Elder Scrolls Online’s ZeniMax Online Studios and Fallout 76’s Bethsoft, announced their intent to form a union under the Communications Workers of America umbrella in order to bargain for fair wages, fair treatment, and a voice in decision-making among other reasons.

Those reasons have been elaborated on in a Vice news piece, which spoke with a couple ZeniMax QA workers who describe their working conditions. “It’s like death from a thousand cuts,” said QA analyst and union organizing member Ashe Myers, who also listed low pay, forced overtime, and colleagues taking on responsibilities “above their pay grade” as the reasons for the unionization movement.

Autumn Mitchell, another ZeniMax QA tester, elaborated further on the organization movement. “Fighting for better conditions so far has just proven to be sort of a broken record situation. People have just been repeating themselves over and over and over again, and having one-on-one conversations that just go nowhere,” she explains. “By unionizing, we’ll have this opportunity to really just collectively start coming into tune.”

Readers will note that the problem of crunch in ZeniMax’s studios has made headlines before. In 2019, the company announced it would take part in a joint initiative with mental health org Take This to examine its development practices to limit crunch, while Rich Lambert of ZOS admitted that “some” crunch happened at his studio and an Xbox head said that reports of crunch at Bethsoft was from a time when crunch was “part of the culture of the industry.”

source: Vice
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