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The Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega (AEGIS) is both the Sonic the Hedgehog developer's first-ever union, and also the United States' first game developer union to cover multiple staff departments.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

April 24, 2023

2 Min Read
Cover art for Sega's Sonic Origins, showing Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends.

Workers at Sega's North American offices have formed their own union. First reported by The Verge, 144 staffers across various departments at the studio such as QA, live services, localization, and marketing have recently filed a union election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Known as the Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega (AEGIS), the group is the United States' first video game union covering multiple departments. The big successful union stories as of late, such as those at ZeniMax and Activision Blizzard, have focused on the QA departments. 

Speaking to The Verge, Sega of America's Emma Geiger noted that getting the union formed over the past year was difficult because departments are siloed off from one another. They said that their organizing "started out with making friends...you’d see somebody in the office who was maybe not on your team, but worked in the same space, and you’d reach out."

Likewise, senior community manager Torie Winkler said she learned about unionizing by talking to localization and QA staff just by talking about games. For her, that communication "really helped to forge connections with people that I wouldn’t have had an opportunity to talk to just in my day to day working environment."

In AEGIS' mission statement, it notes that both its staff and consumers "deserve games made by people who make a living wage. [...] We have built bridges with fellow workers from across our company in an effort to understand our shared issues, and those that are unique to each department.”

Among its stated goals, AEGIS hopes to ensure higher base pay for all employees, along with stable benefits. It also aims for ending "patterns of overwork" and giving everyone "balanced workloads and schedules" that give defined roles for every position. 

Both employees hope that Sega of America and the larger company choose to voluntarily recognize AEGIS' existence. Winkler in particular said the union members "respect our coworkers and we want to be able to make a sustainable workplace.”

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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