Just before the holiday break, workers at Microsoft’s ZeniMax Media – including Elder Scrolls Online’s ZeniMax Online Studios and Bethesda itself – announced their intent to unionize as a group of hundreds of QA workers under the Communication Workers of America banner. Workers had complained of everything from low and nonsensical pay to forced overtime and crunch; they told journalists they’d exhausted their other options with management, resulting in a two-year effort to prepare to go public with a union. And now, they’ve actually pulled it off.
“Happy New Year! We won our union!” the group tweeted last night. Around 300 workers pledged to join the union – a supermajority of QA testers across the company. CODE-CWA further noted that this makes ZeniMax Workers United both the “largest certified video game studio union in the U.S.” and the “first official bargaining unit of [Microsoft].”
Once again, we note the sharp contrast here between Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard, the latter of which spent all of 2022 trying to subvert, harry, and thwart its budding worker unions. “In light of the results of the recent unionization vote, we recognize the Communications Workers of America (CWA) as the bargaining representative for the Quality Assurance employees at ZeniMax,” Microsoft rep David Cuddy said in response to the successful union vote. “We look forward to engaging in good faith negotiations as we work toward a collective bargaining agreement.”
CWA, for its part, has previously confirmed that Microsoft’s negotiations have been conducted in good faith – unlike ATVI’s – and has publicly supported Microsoft’s acquisition of ATVI specifically because of that.
Industry unionization has now taken MOP’s “best trend” award for two years running.
Happy New Year! We won our union!
— ZeniMax Workers United – CWA (@ZeniMaxWorkers) January 3, 2023