300 Microsoft Employees Create Employee Union, First Time Ever: This Is How Microsoft Reacted
Around 300 workers at Microsoft Corp.’s ZeniMax Studios have commenced the process of forming a union which is said to be the first at the software giant in the US.
Here, Microsoft Corp.’s ZeniMax Studios known for popular video games including Skyrim and Fallout.
Forming Union In Microsoft Corp
Moreover, the quality assurance employees at Maryland-based ZeniMax will be represented by the Communications Workers of America.
With this move, the labor movement is said to be gaining steam in the gaming industry as ZeniMax action follows the creation of unions at two studios owned by Activision Blizzard Inc.
Larger Effort In Forming Union
Coming to these studios, Microsoft is in the process of acquiring them for $69 billion, and has now pledged to remain neutral in the union negotiations.
Notably, the said ZeniMax union is far larger than past efforts at Activision studios at Blizzard Albany in New York and Raven Software in Wisconsin.
It encompasses workers across several states who test the games for bugs and ensure they work properly.
When it comes to employees, quality assurance workers have been among the first to unionize in the games industry against low pay and poor working conditions.
Workplace Is Changing
Earlier in 2020, Microsoft acquired ZeniMax for $7.5 billion.
This gaming giant comes with Elder Scrolls-publisher Bethesda Softworks, Doom creator Id Software, Arkane Studios and several other developers.
In a statement, the CWA President Christopher Shelton said, “We are glad to support ZeniMax quality assurance workers as they join the growing video game labor movement in the US.”
Further adding, “These workers are making history, joining the wave of game and tech workers at Activision, Alphabet, and dozens of other companies who have organized with CODE-CWA to build a better workplace.”
It is noteworthy here that Activision Blizzard has fought against its workers’ unionization efforts.
In a blog post in June, Microsoft vice chairman and President Brad Smith wrote recognizing that “the workplace is changing.”
Further adding that “committed to creative and collaborative approaches with unions when employees wish to exercise their rights and Microsoft is presented with a specific unionization proposal.”
Like most large tech companies, Microsoft had been viewed as a barren and somewhat hostile environment for organizing, prior to the recent unionization efforts in video games.
Basically, the difference of opinions occurred in the company largely with unions via its large workforce of contract and temporary workers.