Microsoft videogame testers form company’s first US union
A group of about 300 videogame testers at Microsoft subsidiary Zenimax Studios have voted to unionise, the Communication Workers of America union (CWA) said, marking a first for the tech giant in the US.
The CWA said Zenimax employees at four locations in Maryland and Texas voted overwhelmingly to join the union, but did not provide a tally. Zenimax owns major game franchises including The Elder Scrolls and Fallout.
Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It has said it would voluntarily recognise the union if workers voted to unionise.
Voluntarily agreeing to bargain allows Microsoft to avoid a formal election overseen by the US National Labor Relations Board and the legal battles that often ensue.
CWA president Christopher Shelton said Microsoft has set itself apart from other tech companies that have discouraged union campaigns.
"Microsoft is charting a different course which will strengthen its corporate culture and ability to serve its customers and should serve as a model for the industry and as a blueprint for regulators," Shelton said.
In June last year the company entered into an agreement with the CWA to remain neutral in union organising campaigns at Activision Blizzard, which Microsoft is seeking to purchase for $69bn (about R1.1-trillion). US regulators sued to block the deal last month.
Game testers at Activision units Blizzard Albany and Raven Software voted in 2022 to join unions amid claims by the CWA that the company has threatened and retaliated against union supporters. Activision has denied wrongdoing.
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