Microsoft has recognized its first labor union in the United States, after employees at the videogame production company ZeniMax Studios overwhelmingly voted to unionize.
ZeniMax produces the popular video games The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, and it becomes the first studio at Microsoft to gain union representation, according to the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union.
The ZeniMax unionization follows an increase in similar efforts across technology giants in the United States. In recent years, Apple, Amazon and Google have all faced labor fights, as workers attempt to secure higher wages amid a cost of living crisis.
“Other video game and tech giants have made a conscious choice to attack, undermine, and demoralize their own employees when they join together to form a union,” CWA’s president Chris Shelton said. “Microsoft is charting a different course which will strengthen its corporate culture and ability to serve its customers and should serve as a model for the industry and as a blueprint for regulators,” he added.
“In light of the results of the recent unionization vote, we recognize the Communications Workers of America as the bargaining representative for the Quality Assurance employees at ZeniMax,” Microsoft said in a statement following the vote. “We look forward to engaging in good faith negotiations as we work towards a collective bargaining agreement.”
The group will represent around 300 quality assurance workers at the company’s offices in Maryland and Texas. Workers hope the union will help them form together to secure better pay and working conditions, and reduce issues such as unfair pay practices and overworking.
The same union has been involved in efforts to organize workers at fellow gaming company Activision Blizzard, but execs have fought their efforts. However, that might change if Microsoft is able to complete its $68 billion deal to buy Activision. The merger is currently on hold as the U.S. government has sued to block it over competition concerns.