Microsoft Announces Hiring of ZeniMax QA Contractors as Unionized Employees

Game studios and publishers have collectively laid off an estimated 9,000-plus workers this year, with Microsoft hiring dozens of ZeniMax quality assurance contractors as unionized employees. Microsoft agreed to a union representing around 300 QA workers at ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda that it bought in 2021, hiring 77 temporary workers and incorporating them into the ZeniMax Workers United-CWA (Communications Workers of America) union. 23 of the workers are being hired as full-time, permanent employees with a pay increase of 22.2 percent, while the other 54 are receiving an immediate pay bump. According to the CWA, the new employees will now receive paid holidays and sick leave, and will receive a copy of the blockbuster game they worked on, which was not standard practice for contractors. The CWA stated that they will continue negotiating for more contractors to have a pathway to permanent roles. Microsoft vice president Amy Pannoni mentioned that “We are now stronger at the bargaining table and are working to secure a fair contract for all workers — direct employees and contractors,” with Chris Lusco, a member of ZeniMax Workers United-CWA, stating “We hope to set a new precedent for workers across Microsoft and the entire gaming industry so that all workers, regardless of their employment status, are able to improve their working conditions through collective bargaining.” Lastly, Microsoft said it would remain neutral when Activision Blizzard employees wished to unionize, with a pact with the CWA set to come into force on December 12th of this year.