Microsoft Formally Recognizes Its First U.S. Union

Elder Scrolls Online, a ZeniMax videogame title

When 300 employees at ZeniMax Studios alerted parent company Microsoft that they were interested in starting a union, the software giant didn’t stand in the way. And when those workers voted today to unionize, Microsoft formally recognized its first-ever U.S.-based union.

“In light of the results of the recent unionization vote, we recognize the Communications Workers of America (CWA) as the bargaining representative for the Quality Assurance employees at ZeniMax,” a Microsoft statement reads. “We look forward to engaging in good faith negotiations as we work towards a collective bargaining agreement.”

Microsoft is the only Big Tech company to publicly commit to labor principles that respect its employees’ right to form a union, and its stance on unions makes it an outlier. It’s also one of several key reasons why its Activision Blizzard acquisition should be approved by regulators: where Activision Blizzard has resisted unionization efforts, Microsoft has said that it will abide by whatever decision those workers make about a union.

“Microsoft has lived up to its commitment to its workers and let them decide for themselves whether they want a union,” CWA president Chris Shelton said. “Other videogame and tech giants have made a conscious choice to attack, undermine, and demoralize their own employees when they join together to form a union.”

Microsoft acquired ZeniMax and its Bethesda, id Software, and other game studios in 2021 for $8.1 billion. The 300 ZeniMax employees who unionized are looking forward to more equitable pay, better communication with management, and an end to crunch time.

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