According to the CWA, which has also organised QA shops at Raven Software and Blizzard Albany, ZeniMax managers have been given clear guidance by Microsoft to remain neutral during the process which will involve the 300 developers across four offices in Maryland and Texas either signing union cards or voting through an electronic portal over the next month. Following majority support, the union will then seemingly be recognised by Microsoft, and become the largest so far as employees across the gaming industry seek more power in the workplace. Read More: The Human Toll Of Fallout 76’s Disastrous Launch QA staff are some of the lowest paid, most overworked, and most precarious workers at big game companies, and those at ZeniMax are no exception. As Kotaku reported earlier this year, those involved in the fraught development of Fallout 76 had to contend with long periods of crunch and even health issues allegedly stemming from the prolonged periods of being overworked. Through their new union, called ZeniMax Workers United, the group said it wants to address problems around scheduling, pay, and accountability by management. Microsoft originally made its pledge to remain neutral on union matters as part of its bid to get a $US69 billion ($AU103 billion) deal to acquire Activision Blizzard approved by regulators. The CWA announced its support for the merger as a result of the move, which comes as unionization efforts ramp up in other parts of tech as well, including at Apple and Google. But the real test of Microsoft’s enlightened stance on labour organising will come at the bargaining table when ZeniMax workers seek to negotiate pay, benefits, and other working conditions as part of their first contract.
QA workers at ZeniMax are extremely passionate about our work and the games we make. Having a seat at the table will ensure we receive fair compensation for the work that we do. A union on the job will protect us and make sure our passion isn’t taken for granted.— ZeniMax Workers United – CWA (@ZeniMaxWorkers) December 5, 2022
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