ZeniMax Studios employees at Microsoft have voted to form the first labor union at the tech company in the United States.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) union claimed that Microsoft recognized the group after a “supermajority” of the video game production company employees expressed their approval of the initiative.
Several well-known franchises, such as The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, are owned by ZeniMax as it comes after increased union organizing in the United States.
There have been labor disputes at Apple, Amazon, and Google in recent years, among other US corporations, as workers demand higher wages in response to the rising cost of living.
According to the CWA, union drives typically meet with fierce opposition from corporations.
Chris Shelton, president of the CWA, stated: “Other video game and technology titans have made a conscious decision to attack, undermine, and demoralise their own employees when they form a union.”
Mr. Shelton remarked that Microsoft’s new direction “should serve as a model for the industry and a blueprint for regulators” because it will improve the company’s culture and its ability to serve its customers.
The company behind the first-person shooter classic DOOM, ZeniMax Studios, has become the first studio at Microsoft US to secure union representation. The company will soon have the largest group of union-represented quality assurance testers of any US game studio, according to the Communications Workers of America.
This organization will speak for about 300 quality assurance specialists in Maryland and Texas.
The organizers claimed that they hoped a union, which would allow them to bargain over issues such as pay and working conditions collectively, would allow them to increase employment opportunities, decrease unfair pay practices, and alleviate overwork during peak periods.
Microsoft can avoid the formal process overseen by the US National Labor Relations Board and the subsequent legal battles that often follow by agreeing to bargain with unionized employees of their own volition.
Unionization drives at Activision Blizzard have also received CWA support. The firm has actively resisted these initiatives.
After Microsoft’s announcement last year that it would acquire Activision Blizzard, the government filed suit to prevent the merger, citing antitrust concerns.
To gain support for one of the largest mergers in Microsoft’s history, the company had agreed to take a neutral stance in any labor disputes that may arise.
The Microsoft spokesperson didn’t want to discuss how the new union might affect the company.
The company’s official statement was, “we look forward to engaging in good faith negotiations as we work towards a collective bargaining agreement.”