Sega Of America is the latest game studio to organise a union
“We look forward to continuing to collaborate with Sega branches worldwide.”
Employees at Sega Of America’s Irvine offices have announced plans to unionise and have filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board. This means Sega management can now voluntarily recognise the union, or wait for the union election to take place. The newly announced Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega (AEGIS for short) is composed of around 144 employees working across several departments, including QA, marketing, localisation, product development, and live service.
AEGIS have also teamed up with the CWA, the labour union that assisted other studio’s unionisation efforts and who previously filed unfair labour charges against Activision Blizzard.
"Our workers and our audience deserve games made by people who make a living wage,” reads the announcement shared online. “In our quest to reclaim our collective power,” AEGIS continued, “we have built bridges with fellow workers from across our company in an effort to understand our shared issues, and those that are unique to each department.” It claims that “nearly a third of Sega’s long-time workers still lack full-time status, paid time off, proper training, or even bereavement leave, despite dedicating years of their lives to Sega.”
Their list of goals include higher base pay for all departments, stable benefits such as healthcare, clearer opportunities for advancement, and balanced schedules and adequate staffing to “end patterns of overwork.”
The Verge spoke with some of the unionising workers who claimed that neither Sega Of America nor its Japanese parent company had expressed any anti-union sentiments so far. The AEGIS statement says that “Our demands are already in line with Sega’s core values,” and asks that “leadership recognise our democratic right to organise without interference.”
While AEGIS are currently focused on the Irvine California offices, their statement hints at future plans: “We look forward to continuing to collaborate with Sega branches worldwide.”
AEGIS follows in the footsteps of other video game unions in recent years. Despite Activision Blizzard’s attempts to block unions, QA testers at Blizzard Albany and Raven Software have both successfully voted in favour of unionising. Dragon Age Dreadwolf’s QA contractors voted for the same, meanwhile around 300 QA testers from Zenimax are in the middle of organising. So far, quality assurance departments have been at the centre of unionisation efforts in the US, making Sega’s AEGIS the largest multi-department union in the games industry.