ZeniMax Workers United, the second-ever video games labor union in the United States, has started collective bargaining discussions with Microsoft.
Back in January 2023, over 300 Quality Assurance (QA) workers at ZeniMax Media voted to form a union. Allied with the Communication Workers of America (CWA) labor group, Microsoft formally recognized the union shortly after the vote. Now the union has opened up talks with Microsoft regarding key issues that QA workers face in the industry, including low pay and long hours.
"Today, we are excited to announce that ZeniMax Workers United of CWA have started our first day of bargaining for our first ever contract with ZeniMax and Microsoft! IN SOLIDARITY!" the union wrote on its Twitter page.
QA is an important backbone of video games development and is largely responsible for testing the software and identifying core bugs and issues. The industry simply could not function without these workers, and Microsoft has taken a neutral stance on labor unions ahead of its proposed acquisition of Activision-Blizzard for $68.7 billion.
No exact details on the current negotiations have been made public. SEGA of America has also recently formed AEGIS, a collective of many workers across multiple job types that aim to create a better working environment by advocating for more pay and benefits.
"In light of the results of the recent unionization vote, we recognize the Communications Workers of America as the bargaining representative for the Quality Assurance employees at ZeniMax," a Microsoft rep said about the voting process in 2022.
"We look forward to engaging in good faith negotiations as we work towards a collective bargaining agreement."