Microsoft has agreed to convert a grup of contract workers into unionized employees. This is a result of the company’s talks with the CMA and ZeniMax Workers United.
- According to Bloomberg, Microsoft will make 23 contract staff at the ZeniMax Workers United group permanent full-time employees, with a 22% pay increase.
- 54 workers will get temporary roles at the corporation, along with $2.75 hourly raises and paid sick days.
- In January, a group of more than 300 QA developers at ZeniMax Media announced a union with the help of the Communication Workers America (CMA). It was recognized by Microsoft, and negotiatons have been ongoing since April.
- With 77 contract workers now becoming union-represented employees, ZeniMax Workers United says it will continue trying to secure additional permanent jobs for other contract staffers at Microsoft.
- “We look forward to continued good faith negotiations as we work towards a collective bargaining agreement,” Microsoft VP Amy Pannoni told Bloomberg.
Founded in 1999, ZeniMax Media is a holding company that owns Bethesda Softworks and studios such as Arkane, id Software, MachineGames, and Tango Gameworks. In 2020, it was acquired by Microsoft for $7.5 billion.
Now that Activision Blizzard is part of the Redmond-based tech giant, Microsoft will also have to deal with other unionization efforts at the Call of Duty/Warcraft maker. Since 2022, unions have been announced by workers at studios like Raven Software, Blizzard Albany, and Blizzard Proletariat (management refused to voluntarily recognize the union).
Microsoft previously said it “will not stand in the way if Activision Blizzard recognizes a union,” adding that it will “honor” employees’ rights to be represented by a labor organization. Following the $68.7 billion deal, the company reiterated its labor neutrality agreement with the CMA, saying that it “remains steadfast in our support of our current and future employees in whatever choice they make about their workplace and their representatives.”
This is part of a wider trend in the games industry, as more employees are now trying to fight for their rights and better working conditions. For example, a group of developers at CD Projekt and other studios recently formed the Polish Gamedev Workers Union in the wake of mass layoffs, citing job security, fair treatment, and transperancy among their main goals.