ZeniMax Media QA employees vote to become largest game studio union in US

A group of 300+ ZeniMax Media employees passed a vote to become the first gaming union inside Microsoft and the largest in the United States.

A major victory for workers rights in gaming has been achieved throughout ZeniMax Media’s various studios this week. After a 300+ group comprised mostly of quality assurance (QA) testers across ZeniMax’s various studios (including Bethesda Game Studios) formed back in December 2022 and called a vote, said vote has passed. ZeniMax Media’s QA testers have now formed the first gaming union inside Microsoft and the largest gaming union in the United States.

The results of ZeniMax’s vote were announced by the organizers themselves via the ZeniMax Workers United - CWA Twitter on January 3, 2023.

Happy New Year!,” the group’s Twitter reads. “We won our union!”

The victory was also posted in a press release on the Communications Workers of America (CWA) website. The CWA has helped various groups organize, not just including ZeniMax’s QA workers, but also Raven Software QA as well. ZeniMax’s group was formed from throughout the company’s studios back at the beginning of December and the vote was carried out soon after. Quality assurance testers that formed the group came from Bethesda Game Studios, MachineGames, Id Software, and more.

ZeniMax Workers United Tweet claiming the unionization vote was a success.
ZeniMax Workers United - CWA announced on its Twitter that the vote to unionize passed on January 3, 2023.
Source: Twitter

With this victory, both the ZeniMax Workers United group and CWA were thrilled to announce that they would be moving forward with the formation of the first official gaming union inside Microsoft.

“We’re thrilled to kick off 2023 in a workplace that’s stronger and more equitable than it was last year,” Senior QA Tester Skylar Hinnant shared. “This is an empowering victory that allows us to protect ourselves and each other in a way we never could without a union. Our hope and belief is that this is the year in which game workers across the country exercise their power and reshape the industry as a whole.”

It's also worth noting that Microsoft has signaled its intent to recognize and negotiate with the Raven Software QA union if its acquisition of Activision Blizzard goes through. It seems major waves are taking place within gaming and workers rights to kick of 2023, and with the victory for ZeniMax Media, it will be interesting to see what comes next. Stay tuned 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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