Quality assurance workers at ZeniMax Studios today voted in favor of forming a union with Communications Workers of America — and ZeniMax’s parent company, Microsoft, didn’t stand in the way. Microsoft formally recognized ZeniMax Workers United/CWA alongside today’s vote, instantly making this the largest union in the video game industry and the first union at Microsoft overall.
About 300 ZeniMax staff members were involved in the unionization effort, which lasted for months before going public in early December. This was around the time QA testers at another major video game studio, Blizzard Albany, voted to unionize with CWA. The Blizzard Albany union is the second at parent company Activision Blizzard, after QA staff at Raven Software voted to organize in May 2022.
Microsoft is currently attempting to acquire — emphasis on attempting — Activision Blizzard, which would tie all of these unionization campaigns together. Activision Blizzard has actively tried to quell organization efforts, while Microsoft in June said it would respect all unionization efforts at Activision Blizzard. The ZeniMax vote was the first big test of Microsoft’s neutrality when facing internal unionization.
The workers behind ZeniMax Workers United/CWA argue that the union will help put an end to sudden periods of crunch, make pay more equitable and improve communication with management, among other workplace benefits.
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