Hundreds of workers at ZeniMax Media have started taking steps to form their own union. This would require recognition from Microsoft, which pledged to stay neutral throughout this process.

300+ ZeniMax workers are taking steps to form the first union at Microsoft


  • As reported by The New York Times, a group of more than 300 employees at Microsoft-owned holding company have started voting on forming the company’s first union. 
  • This will affect employees at several studios at ZeniMax Media, which includes subsidiaries like Bethesda, id Software, MachineGames, and Arkane.
  • Employees can sign a union authorization card or vote anonymously on a special electronic platform. The process is expected to end later this month.
  • Microsoft will stay neutral in this process, saying that it remains “committed to providing employees with an opportunity to freely and fairly make choices about their workplace representation.”
  • If the majority of workers vote for unionization, Microsoft will recognize the union. It will be established with the Communication Workers America (CMA).
  • This would make the whole process easier than a typical review by the National Labor Relations Board, which previously slowed the similar efforts among QA testers at Activision Blizzard.
  • As the ZeniMax Workers United pointed out on Twitter, their goal is to secure fair treatment and wages, as well as opportunities for advancement within the company, transparency, and a voice in decision making around workload.
  • “We know we have a unique opportunity to be trailblazers for a new era of the game industry and we don’t take this lightly,” the statement reads. “Our union will be a place where ALL workers can collectively participate in decision making and push for changes that reflect the wants & needs of workers.”

This comes days after testers at Blizzard Albany (fka Vicarious Visions) voted 14-0 to join the CWA union despite Activision’s efforts to block it and allegedly spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a union-busting law firm. The workers expressed the hope that this move could open the door for unionization at other game companies.

Earlier this year, Activision pressured QA testers at Raven Software, who finally managed to form the first union at a US-listed game company in May.

There is a growing trend towards unionization in the games industry. In September, Anemone Hug formed the first Canadian video game union. Another example is Vodeo Games, which, unfortunately, announced its closure just months after voting for unionization.