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150 Sega Of America Workers Become First Major Gaming Union To Ratify Union Contract

Around 150 employees of Sega of America have become the first major North American video game company to ratify a union contract. The contract covers employees in various departments including marketing at the division’s offices in Southern California.

Around 150 employees of Sega of America have become the first major North American video game company to ratify a union contract. The contract covers employees in various departments including marketing at the division’s offices in Southern California.

Around 150 employees of Sega of America have become the first major North American video game company to ratify a union contract. The contract covers employees in various departments including marketing at the division’s offices in Southern California.
Shuji Utsumi is the CEO of Sega of America and Sega Europe

Sega of America is a division of Sega Sammy Holdings Inc. It is widely believed that the move by the employees at Sega of America will likely accelerate the formation of other labor movements in the industry which has recently seen a slump in job security.

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According to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier who first broke the news, workers will enjoy annual yearly increase in minimum wage as follows; 4% in 2024, 3% in 2025, and 2.5% in 2026. In addition to the pay increases, the workers will also get other benefits according to a representative of the Communications Workers of America, Catalina Brennan-Gatica.

The contract requires Sega of America to give workers ample notice ahead of layoffs in addition to a minimum of two weeks severance package to the impacted employees with a cap of eight weeks. Several workers have lost their jobs at Sega this year.

The contract also makes provision for a just-cause policy (the second North American company after Tender Claws to have them), codified benefits like health insurance, and crediting everyone in the project they worked on—including early QA testers. The contract allows workers in the union to chase other creative work in addition to their role at Sega as well as guaranteed continuation of hybrid work.

Around 150 employees of Sega of America have become the first major North American video game company to ratify a union contract. The contract covers employees in various departments including marketing at the division’s offices in Southern California.

While video game workers in other parts of the world are unionizing, those in North America have found it tougher. However, that is gradually changing. Recently, workers at Activision Blizzard and ZeniMax—both properties of Microsoft—formed a union.

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Schreier observed that the push for unionization appears to be higher among quality assurance testers who often say they are overworked and underpaid and face the biggest layoff threats. Some companies see them as expendable.

The success of the contract by Sega of America employees will likely spur employees in other companies to attempt the same. There has been a growing call for workers in the gaming industry to unionize following the sweeping layoffs across various studios across the globe.

Reactions to the unionization of Sega of America workers

The Sega of America workers are unionized under the umbrella of Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega (AEGIS). The vote to ratify the collective bargaining agreement happened on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, and provides raises and protections to full-time and temporary employees. According to the union organizers, the collective bargain between Sega of America and AEGIS-CWA stretched for six months.

Around 150 employees of Sega of America have become the first major North American video game company to ratify a union contract. The contract covers employees in various departments including marketing at the division’s offices in Southern California.

“One of our most notable items is our grievance process,” said Em Geiger, a localization editor at Sega of America, in an interview with Polygon. “There’s extra security knowing we have in place a system for bringing issues to the table, such as arguing just cause in a potential layoff. If the company wants to do something that the unit doesn’t like, we can grieve it, bargain over it, have our say before anything is finalized.”

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“There is no understating the enormous hit we took to our support numbers, to morale, to our working relationships when SOA announced they were going to lay off temps. A contract cannot ensure you aren’t laid off. At the end of the day, it was a business decision. But the anger and the grief and the sorrow were natural responses for us. At the very least, we were able to negotiate severance packages for those who were at risk of losing their jobs.”

AEGIS-CWA represents employees across multiple departments at Sega of America’s Burbank and Irvine offices. The union members work in a variety of roles including quality assurance, sales, product development, marketing services, localization, and brand marketing.