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QA staff at ZeniMax Studios unanimously votes to unionize

That's one way to ring in the new year.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

January 3, 2023

2 Min Read
Screenshot from Fallout 76.

Almost a full month after announcing its formation, a "supermajority" of over 300 QA workers across Bethesda and its parent company ZeniMax Studios have unanimously voted to unionize.

This new union marks the first to be formed under Microsoft, which acquired Bethesda and ZeniMax back in 2020. And the Communications Workers of America added that it also exists as the largest union in the western game industry.

QA workers spread across Bethesda and ZeniMax studios in Texas and Maryland first announced the formation of the union in early December, and voting took place until the end of the month. QA employees across the ZeniMax studios voted via a confidential online portal. 

"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," wrote QA staffer Skyler Hinnant.

"We want to put an end to sudden periods of crunch, unfair pay, and lack of growth opportunities within the company," added QA audio tester Victoria Banos. "Our union will push for truly competitive pay, better communication between management and workers, a clear path for those that want to progress their career, and more."

On Microsoft's end, it's opted to voluntarily recognize the ZeniMax union. It previously said that it would stay neutral during the voting process, as it had while Blizzard Albany was undergoing its own unionization attempts. 

The Xbox maker has also agreed to be neutral as potential subsidiary Proletariat (of Spellbreak fame) is in the midst of unionizing its whole studio, not just QA workers. 

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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