Sega of America Joins the Ranks of Unionized Game Developers
In light of the increasing trend of unionization in the gaming industry, a Sega of America coalition of employees declared that they had cast their ballots for the right to organize. This vote was overwhelmingly backed by personnel from the Irvine office of Sega, who partnered with the Communication Workers of America (CWA). The union election will be submitted to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for the ultimate decision, which is yet to be announced.
When Sega of America formed a union, the announcement was made at the same time as Sega’s purchase of Finnish mobile game developer Rovio, the makers of the Angry Birds series. Reportedly, the transaction is valued at around $776 million and should be approved by the relevant authorities. Despite other major game developers making acquisitions, unionization attempts have not been entirely successful due to anti-union initiatives. Nevertheless, the union that Sega of America initiated is distinct from those formed by other companies.
Employees at Zenimax, Blizzard Albany, and Raven Software have been successful in their respective unionization efforts, but the endeavor at Sega of America’s Irvine office is the most extensive yet. It encompasses multiple departments, including QA, marketing, and localization, and has been named the Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega (AEGIS). As expressed on Twitter, the union believes their action will improve the experience of gamers and provide their Irvine workers with benefits such as full-time status and paid leave, of which many are currently without.
Today we, a supermajority of workers at our @SEGA of America Irvine headquarters, are excited to announce that we are unionizing as the Allied Employees Guild Improving SEGA—AEGIS—in partnership with @code_cwa. #UnionizeSEGA pic.twitter.com/lzbwFUZOFH
— AEGIS-CWA 💙 #UnionizeSEGA (@takesAEGIS) April 24, 2023
AEGIS declared that their goal is to promote better wages, medical benefits, workloads and staffing for all of its member divisions. Even though the outcomes of the unionization vote won’t be seen right away, AEGIS still has hope that the boards of Sega of America and the larger corporation will willingly recognize the union. It is uncertain what Sega’s headquarters will declare in response to AEGIS’s establishment, however the new union is confident of its chances. AEGIS insisted that Sega of America should practice their neutrality policy, as outlined in the code of conduct, in the same way that Microsoft follows their own neutrality policy when dealing with labor unions.
The staff of Sega of America managed to obtain a union vote, but unfortunately, it appears union-busting by other companies such as Nintendo and Activision Blizzard is still a concern in the gaming industry. It remains to be seen if AEGIS can achieve its aims.