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Gaming

Unionization Efforts Expand at Sonic Maker Sega

  • Craig Miller
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  • April 30, 2023
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  • 3 minute read
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Unionization Efforts Expand at Sonic Maker Sega
Key Takeaways
  • Over 140 employees at Sega of America's Irvine office have formed a union called AEGIS-CWA (Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega) in collaboration with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), making it the largest multi-departmental video game union in the US.
  • The proposed union aims to improve working conditions and job security by advocating for a fair living wage, enhanced benefits, more transparent opportunities for career advancement, and increased staff numbers.
  • The union has submitted an election request to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) but hopes for voluntary acknowledgment from Sega.
  • AEGIS-CWA's formation is a significant milestone in the growing wave of unionization efforts in the gaming industry.
  • The success of AEGIS-CWA could inspire more gaming companies to reassess their workplace policies and prioritize the well-being of their employees.

Over 140 team members at Sega of America’s office in Irvine, California, have come together to form a union named AEGIS-CWA (Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega), in collaboration with the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

This initiative is unique as it involves employees from various departments, including quality assurance, localization, live service, marketing, and product development.

This makes AEGIS-CWA the most extensive multi-departmental video game union in the United States to date.

Building Bridges for a United Cause

The union members have been working together for over a year to create a unified front. Initially, remote work and departmental separation posed challenges for organizing efforts.

However, employees managed to overcome these obstacles by connecting with peers across different disciplines.

According to Torie Winkler, a senior community manager at Sega, a shared passion for the games they work on played a significant role in facilitating conversations and outreach, enabling different departments to support unionization efforts.

A United Vision for Improved Working Conditions

AEGIS-CWA’s mission statement emphasizes the importance of employees receiving a fair living wage for the creation of quality games.

The proposed union aims to provide workers with a voice in the decision-making processes that impact their working conditions and job security.

Central issues being addressed include higher base salaries, enhanced benefits such as healthcare and retirement options, more transparent opportunities for career advancement, and increased staff numbers to alleviate overwork and burnout.

The gaming industry has experienced a growing wave of unionization, with QA testers at prominent game publishers such as Raven Software, BioWare, Blizzard, and Bethesda leading the charge.

Gaining Recognition and Encouraging Support

The union has submitted an election request to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) but hopes that Sega will voluntarily acknowledge it.

As of now, Microsoft is the only company that has voluntarily recognized unionizing gaming industry workers after promising the CWA to support its acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

The gaming industry has experienced a growing wave of unionization, with QA testers at prominent game publishers such as Raven Software, BioWare, Blizzard, and Bethesda leading the charge.

The addition of the AEGIS-CWA union at Sega of America would be a significant milestone, as it encompasses employees from multiple departments.

Awaiting Sega’s Response

Sega has yet to comment on the unionization efforts or voluntarily recognize the union. If the company opts not to recognize the union, the NLRB will oversee an election to determine the union’s formation.

Union members and supporters are optimistic that Sega of America and its Japanese parent company will acknowledge the union and collaborate towards creating a more sustainable workplace for all.

In the face of these unionization efforts, many in the industry hope that other gaming companies will follow suit and provide their workers with improved working conditions, job security, and a more balanced work environment.

The success of AEGIS-CWA could potentially inspire more gaming companies to reassess their workplace policies and prioritize the well-being of their employees.

Craig Miller

Craig Miller

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