A group of Microsoft employees has formed the first union in the history of the US software company, marking the latest example of organizing employees at top technology companies in recent years, writes the WSJ.
The group includes about 300 quality assurance testers from Microsoft’s ZeniMax unit, the Communications Workers of America, which represents it, announced Tuesday. In the video game industry, the number of unions is extremely low.
“We look forward to engaging in good faith negotiations toward a collective bargaining agreement,” said a spokeswoman for Microsoft and ZeniMax.
The first union of Microsoft employees
In June, Microsoft said it was open to working with any union that wants to organize within its workforce, making it an exception in the tech industry. Last year, Amazon challenged workers’ efforts to unionize. Microsoft has said it will support Activision Blizzard workers who went on strike last year if the $75 billion deal for the “Call of Duty” developer goes through.
“Microsoft has honored its commitment to its employees and let them decide for themselves whether they want a union,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “Other video game and technology giants have consciously chosen to attack, undermine and demoralize their own employees when they band together to form a union.”
What’s going on at Microsoft?
Microsoft announced a year ago that it intends to buy Activision for 75 billion dollars. Last month, the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit to block the deal, saying it would harm competition in the video game industry. The Redmond, Wash.-based company, which values the deal at $68.7 billion after adjusting for Activision’s net cash, said it would do otherwise.
The Activision transaction would be the largest transaction ever completed by Microsoft. It bought ZeniMax, the company behind hit franchises like “Doom,” “The Elder Scrolls” and “Fallout,” in 2021 for $7.5 billion. Microsoft currently owns approximately 24 studios and produces the Xbox game consoles.