Since right after the Civil War, labor unions in the U.S. have been working to ensure fair and equal treatment for workers across a variety of industries. While there have been different viewpoints on unions since their creation, it’s undeniable that they’ve improved the lives of the workers in them. And now, some gaming QA testers from Microsoft-owned studios have officially formed their own.
According to a tweet today from the official Communications Workers of America account, the union organization supporting this move, Zenimax Workers United won its union bid. This means that the group of over 300 QA testers at Microsoft has become the largest union in tech right now, with Microsoft agreeing to the union’s terms.
The 300 workers are spread across ZeniMax studios like id Software, Bethesda, and Arkane. These teams are behind some of the most popular games to come out recently, as well as the most anticipated. It’s undoubtedly in Microsoft’s best interest to keep these employees happy when it’s relying on them for Xbox-exclusive titles this year like Redfall and Starfield.
This might be the first union that Microsoft has ever encountered in its nearly 48-year history. Its willingness to agree to the founding of a union might give an incentive for other parts of the company to join together and unionize as well. If the people testing the game can create a union so easily, then it should likely be a no-brainer for those who actually create the games.
According to quotes provided by Axios, different QA testers said they hoped this would end “sudden periods of crunch, unfair pay, and lack of growth opportunities within the company.” “We look forward to engaging in good faith negotiations as we work toward a collective bargaining agreement,” another tester said.
Unions have been popping up all across the gaming industry since the end of 2021, with companies like Blizzard, Raven, and Proletariat getting official organizations dedicated to workers. As more unions emerge in gaming and tech, it’s only more likely that workers will see this as an opportunity to start asking for better treatment.