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Sega of America accused of trying to cut 40 percent of unionized workers

Union members claimed the Sonic maker has clearly engaged in "bad-faith bargaining."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

November 16, 2023

2 Min Read
The AEGIS-CWA logo on a blue background
Image via AEGIS-CWA

Sega has been hit with an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge that accuses the company of deploying union-busting tactics to dismantle the Allied Employees Guild Improving SEGA (AEGIS-CWA) union that was formed with help from the Communications Workers of America (CWA) earlier this year.

According to a CWA spokesperson who reached out to Game Developer, Sega is attempting to axe 40 percent unionized staff by offshoring work to its offices in Europe and Japan by 2024.

The union currently comprises 200 employees based at Sega of America's headquarters in Irvine, California. Those staffers belong to various teams including brand marketing, games as a service, localization, marketing services, product development, sales, QA, and more.

Sega is reportedly trying to shatter the union, which was ratified following an NLRB election in July, by laying off a number of its members who currently occupy QA and localization roles.

"This information was presented to affected employees via captive audience meetings that afternoon, followed by an email to the entire company. This is a clear case of bad faith bargaining as Sega engaged in direct dealing with CWA members and violated the status quo by telling bargaining unit members their jobs would be ending shortly," said CWA spokesperson Catalina Brennan-Gatica. "On behalf of workers, CWA filed a ULP charge against Sega."

AEGIS-CWA member Elise Willacker, currently a senior QA tester temp at Sega of America, claimed the company shared the news at the bargaining table on November 6, 2023, without any prior notice–preventing the union from reviewing the proposal or formulating a response.

The offshoring proposal was reportedly announced company-wide "mere hours" after that meeting.

"It's disheartening to see such actions from Sega, as it unmistakably demonstrates bad faith bargaining and a refusal to recognize the valuable contributions of a significant portion of our colleagues," said Willacker.

"We have filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge to call out Sega's direct dealing with members, and its breaching of the status quo by telling bargaining unit members that our jobs would be ending shortly. Sega will not be allowed to get away with this unlawful behavior. We call on the company to make all temporary employees permanent and return to the bargaining table in good faith. There is no other just alternative."

Game Developer has reached out to Sega of America for comment.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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