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How Workers at Microsoft’s ZeniMax Studios Formed Their Union Free from Company Interference

Quality assurance workers across ZeniMax joined the Communications Workers of America (CWA) in January, 2023, becoming the largest certified video game studio in the United States. ZeniMax is a video game production company with studios in Maryland and Texas known for games like Elder Scrolls, DOOM, Quake Champions, and Fallout. 

Unlike other video game and tech corporations, Microsoft made a public commitment around its labor principles, which included respecting its employees’ rights to form a union. When ZeniMax employees announced that they were organizing a union in December, Microsoft agreed to remain neutral and allow workers to make their own decision about whether or not to join the union. The company swiftly recognized ZeniMax Workers United/CWA after a neutral third party confirmed that a majority of workers favored joining the union.

“We’re thrilled to kick off 2023 in a workplace that’s stronger and more equitable than it was last year. 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,” said Skylar Hinnant, Senior QA Tester II, Rockville, Md.

Unlike other video game and tech giants that 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.

In October, 2023, the Microsoft/Activision Merger was completed, paving the way for more video game workers to form their union free from interference under a ground-breaking, legally binding neutrality agreement. That means Microsoft will remain neutral when Activision Blizzard employees express interest in joining a union, providing a clear path to collective bargaining for almost 10,000 workers.

Microsoft’s high-road approach should be the norm across the industry.