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ZeniMax workers now covered by CWA and Microsoft's labor neutrality agreement

Like Activision Blizzard workers before it, ZeniMax developers can now explore unionizing options without fear of interference on Microsoft's end.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

May 30, 2024

1 Min Read
Key art for 2018's Fallout 76.
Image via Bethesda Game Studios.

Microsoft's previously established Labor Neutrality Agreement for unionized Activision Blizzard workers now includes those at ZeniMax Workers United.

Per the CWA, this now means workers at the Fallout publisher can "organize and decide to form unions without interference and intimidation from management." During these efforts, the Xbox maker will stay neutral and not interfere.

"As our numbers grow at ZeniMax, at Microsoft, and in the video game industry, we will gain the respect we deserve and raise the standards of working conditions for everyone across the video gaming industry."

A short history of Microsoft's Labor Neutrality Agreement

Microsoft first signed an agreement in 2022 as QA testers at Raven Software and Blizzard Albany were unionizing. In the case of the latter, then-parent company Activision Blizzard tried stopping the union votes beforehand.

The ZWU was established at the start of 2023, and was voluntarily recognized by Microsoft from the start. At the end of last year, some contract workers were brought into the union and offered full-time positions.

The CWA backed Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, but it's also been critical of the company. After this month's layoffs and closures, the ZWU condemned Microsoft for "prioritizing profit over those who worked hard and loved these games."

Speaking to this new agreement, Microsoft's legal VP Amy Pannoni said it "continues putting our labor principles into practice. [...] We appreciate CWA’s collaboration in reaching this agreement and look forward to continuing our positive labor management relationship."

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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