Around 300 workers at ZeniMax, Bethesda's former parent company before both were acquired by Microsoft, are in the process of forming a union, GI.Biz reports. The effort by ZeniMax workers comes in collaboration with CODE-CWA, the same organisation which assisted in the creation of the recently formed Activision Blizzard unions.
In a post on Twitter, the union, which goes by the name ZeniMax Workers United, said: "Today we, a majority of QA workers at ZeniMax, are proud to announce the launch of our union," adding "We are empowered to advocate for ourselves & build a future where we can thrive alongside the company."
Detailing their plans in the subsequent thread, ZeniMax Workers United outlined what it hopes to attain for the new union's members:
We hope to secure the following w/ our union:— ZeniMax Workers United - CWA (@ZeniMaxWorkers) December 5, 2022
- Fair treatment for all individuals + wages commensurate with the value we provide
-Opportunities for advancement within the company
- Accountability + transparency
- A voice in decision making around scheduling, workload + more
The vote to form the union will take place in four weeks time. If successful, it will be the first union within Microsoft, and the largest games industry labour movement within the US. For its part, Microsoft outlined its principles toward employee unions back in June, stating it would adopt "creative and collaborative approaches with unions", although the same post also states that "Our employees will never need to organize to have a dialogue with Microsoft's leaders".
Regarding the ZeniMax QA union specifically, the organisers note that "So far, Microsoft has remained committed to staying neutral throughout this process." Microsoft's neutrality stands in stark contrast to the approach of Activision Blizzard, which has made multiple attempts to thwart unionisation attempts of QA testers at its Albany studio. Those attempts have proved fruitless, however, and Blizzard Albany voted overwhelmingly in favour of unionising, becoming the company's second union after Raven Software's QA workers voted to unionise back in May.