Bethesda and Activision QA testers vote in union formation efforts

CWA Unity at Zenimax Bethesda union Header

Hundreds of QA testers throughout the ZeniMax Media group of studios will vote on whether or not to form a union over the next 4 weeks, while another smaller cluster of 14 QA testers at Blizzard Albany (formerly known as Vicarious Visions) have voted unanimously to join the Communication Workers of America union.

Both unionisation efforts are hugely significant to Microsoft, with ZeniMax Media a part of their Xbox gaming business since the 2021 acquisition, and the group of more than 300 employees providing a vital role in testing upcoming games that would include Starfield, Redfall, The Elder Scrolls Online and more.

Here’s the statement on Twitter:

Today we, a majority of QA workers at ZeniMax, are proud to announce the launch of our union with [Communication Workers of America]. We are the first group of workers at Microsoft to formally unionize. We are empowered to advocate for ourselves & build a future where we can thrive alongside the company

QA workers at ZeniMax are extremely passionate about our work and the games we make. Having a seat at the table will ensure we receive fair compensation for the work that we do. A union on the job will protect us and make sure our passion isn’t taken for granted.

We hope to secure the following w/ our union:

  • Fair treatment for all individuals + wages commensurate with the value we provide
  • Opportunities for advancement within the company
  • Accountability + transparency
  • A voice in decision making around scheduling, workload + more

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. 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.

So far, Microsoft has remained committed to staying neutral throughout this process. As we vote over the next 4 weeks in our democratic election, we hope that you will support our journey towards building lasting positive change for workers, gamers & the industry as a whole.

Meanwhile, Blizzard Albany’s team of 14 follows in the footsteps of the Raven Software QA tester union that formed earlier this year. Under their former Vicarious Visions name, Blizzard Albany worked on everything from Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater to joining the massed efforts on the Call of Duty franchise. Most recently, they were entrusted with Diablo II: Resurrected, before being folded into Blizzard to work on the upcoming Diablo IV.

Should the Activision Blizzard acquisition by Microsoft be approved by regulators, this would all mean that Microsoft has three different unions under its umbrella.

Microsoft has, to their credit, remained neutral surrounding these various unionisation efforts. They do not yet own Activision Blizzard, of course, and so have no influence here, but Xbox boss Phil Spencer has previously said that they would be prepared to work with a union if it has formed. More significantly, they’ve made an informal agreement to allow the ZeniMax unionisation effort go ahead without interference. That’s compared to the union busting efforts that have been seen at major companies like Starbucks and Apple’s retail locations, Amazon’s warehouse staff, and (yes) Activision’s own reticent stance.

Source: Twitter, Yahoo

Written by
I'm probably wearing toe shoes, and there's nothing you can do to stop me!


  1. That headline is a bit confusing, isn’t it? And I can’t work out how to rephrase it simply to make it correct.

    It implies both sets of workers have voted to form a union when one set has voted to form a union and the other is currently voting on it. Weirdly, if they’d both already voted, then “vote to form a union” would be correct (although “have voted” might be better?). And if they were both in the process of voting, it might also be correct (although again, “voting” might be better).

    But with one in the process of voting and one having already voted, it somehow gets confusing. I guess English is like that at times. (Don’t get me started on the Oxford comma!!)

    Good luck to them with whatever the result of the vote is/was/will be.

    • Yeah, that’s a better headline.

      • I thought it worked before, but it was a bit too ambiguous when there were two different interpretations. I guess it’s the kind of Americanism of every electoral candidate immediately calling themselves the next whatever, which is a bit presumptive.

Comments are now closed for this post.