Video game workers establish Microsoft's first union

Video game workers establish Microsoft's first union

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Employees at Microsoft’s video game subsidiary ZeniMax Studios made history Tuesday, becoming the first official group of workers at the technology company to formally unionize.  

ZeniMax is a video game production company with studios in Maryland and Texas. The company owns Bethesda Softworks, the producer of franchises including The Elder Scrolls, DOOM and Fallout.

Bethesda Softworks produces games including Dishonored, Wolfenstein and the Elder Scrolls (Microsoft and ZeniMax Media)

MICROSOFT AGREES TO REMAIN NEUTRAL IN ACTIVISION BLIZZARD UNION EFFORTS

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) said in a statement that a majority of quality assurance workers at ZeniMax have indicated that they wish to join ZeniMax Workers United/CWA. 

"ZeniMax Workers United/CWA is the first studio at Microsoft to secure union representation, and the largest group of union-represented Quality Assurance testers at any U.S. game studio," the CWA said

Microsoft, which nabbed the  video game production company for $7.5 billion in 2021, has already recognized the union. 

Communications Workers of America President Chris Shelton commended Microsoft for respecting its employees' right to form a union, saying it will "strengthen its corporate culture." 

"Other video game and tech giants have made a conscious choice to attack, undermine, and demoralize their own employees when they join together to form a union," Shelton said in a statement. "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."

A spokesperson for Microsoft told FOX Business in a statement that the company looks forward "to engaging in good faith negotiations as we work towards a collective bargaining agreement."

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Activision Blizzard bid

Microsoft Corp

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
MSFTMICROSOFT CORP.239.58-0.24-0.10%
ATVIACTIVISION BLIZZARD INC.76.88+0.33+0.43%

The unionization campaign was sparked partly — which by Microsoft’s $69 billion bid to buy California-based game giant Activision Blizzard, which is facing pushback from federal officials.

Still, in June, Microsoft made a pact with the CWA union to stay neutral if Activision Blizzard workers sought to form a union.

Microsoft’s legally binding agreement specifically applied to Activision Blizzard workers after the closing of the merger. But it also reflects Microsoft’s broader principles on handling unionization, which is still uncommon in the tech and gaming industries. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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