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ZeniMax Media employees form 300+ group to vote on unionization

If the vote passes, ZeniMax employees would form the largest gaming union in the United States, and the only US union officially under Microsoft.

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ZeniMax Media, the company behind Bethesda, has a big vote ahead of it. A group of over 300 employees has organized to vote on forming a union. What’s more, Bethesda and ZeniMax Media owner Microsoft has signaled that it will remain neutral in the matter. If the vote passes, it would create the largest video game industry union in the United States and the first official US union under Microsoft.

Word of the vote for unionization by ZeniMax Media employees was reported recently by The New York Times. The 300-plus group of employees is comprised of quality assurance testers throughout ZeniMax, including studios such as Bethesda Game Studios. Currently, the organization is being formed under an informal agreement in which Microsoft signaled it will stay neutral. Workers began signing union authorization cards in November and will be able to cast their votes for or against unionization this month.

ZeniMax Media and Microsoft's logos
Microsoft owns ZeniMax Media, but has signaled it will remain neutral in ZeniMax QA employees' vote to unionize.
Source: Microsoft

The vote at ZeniMax Media follows on the back of a number of concentrated efforts throughout gaming and tech industries to unionize. Activision Blizzard and specifically Raven Software QA saw prominent action this year when, following a major layoff of QA employees at Raven, the group voted to unionize. While Activision Blizzard initially pushed back on the situation, it would eventually be forced to recognize and negotiate with the Raven QA union when Microsoft signaled it would do the same. Apple and Amazon have also seen organized efforts by employees to unionize, including an Apple Store in Atlanta voting to unionize and a vote by the Teamsters union to organize at Amazon.

It will remain to be seen if the ZeniMax Media vote leads to unionization or not as the process is carried out through December. Stay tuned as we continue to follow this story for further updates.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at tj.denzer@shacknews.com and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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