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Video game testers approve the first union at Microsoft

The Microsoft logo is pictured outside the headquarters in Paris, Jan. 8, 2021. A group of video game testers is forming Microsoft's first labor union in the U.S. and the largest in the video game industry. Communications Workers of America said Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, that about 300 quality assurance workers at Microsoft video game subsidiary ZeniMax Studios have voted to join the union.
Thibault Camus
/
AP
The Microsoft logo is pictured outside the headquarters in Paris, Jan. 8, 2021. A group of video game testers is forming Microsoft's first labor union in the U.S. and the largest in the video game industry. Communications Workers of America said Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, that about 300 quality assurance workers at Microsoft video game subsidiary ZeniMax Studios have voted to join the union.

A group of video game testers at Microsoft have formed the tech giant's first union, and Microsoft has signed off on it, according to Communications Workers of America, which represents the employees.

A "supermajority" of quality assurance workers at Microsoft's ZeniMax Studios, which produces video games such as Elder Scrolls, DOOM, Quake Champions, and Fallout, voted to join the union, CWA said Tuesday.

"We're thrilled to kick off 2023 in a workplace that's stronger and more equitable than it was last year," said Senior Quality Assurance Tester Skylar Hinnant. "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."

ZeniMax employees at Microsoft first signed their unionization cards in November and began voting in December.

When the employees announced they were unionizing, Microsoft vowed to remain neutral and let the employees make their own decision about joining, CWA said.

"Microsoft has lived up to its commitment to its workers and let them decide for themselves whether they want a union," CWA President Chris Shelton said. "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. 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."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ayana Archie