144 employees at SEGA of America’s Irving, California office about to form what is will be the largest multi-department games industry union in the United States. They filed an election petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with a supermajority of support within SEGA of America, meaning the union will almost certainly be certified. The new union, which will be called the “Allied Employees Guild Improving SEGA” or “AEGIS,” will partner with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) in representing the employees of SEGA of America’s various departments incuding QA, localization, product development, live services, and marketing.
According to reporting from The Verge, work on the union began more than a year ago. Torie Winkler, senior community manager, told The Verge that a mutual love of the games they worked on fueled the unionization effort. Communication between departments over games eventually led to discussions of how unionization works. Over the course of the last year, employees haven’t experienced any anti-union sentiments from SEGA management. They’re hopeful that management in SEGA of America and Japan will voluntarily recognize the union once it is certified.
AEGIS explained why they were unionizing in a statement on their new Twitter account, saying “We are unionizing because we love the games that we work on, we love our coworkers, and we love working at SEGA. But unfortunately for many this job is not sustainable. Our goal is to make SEGA someplace where we feel employees can thrive for many years to come.”
The tweet goes into further detail, explaining various issues employees face, including below-industry-average pay, weak benefits, a lack of paths for promotion, and a third of long-time employees lacking full-time status and all the benefits that come with that. The union hopes to correct these issues by attaining a higher base pay, improved and stable benefits (such as healthcare and retirement), increased and clearly outlined opportunities for promotion, balanced workloads and schedules, and ensuring adequately staffed departments to end overwork.
You can read the full statement here. AEGIS also has a petition, where you can show SEGA management you support the union, here. AEGIS also encouraged the tweeting of #UnionizeSEGA and #AEGISAlly as another way of showing your support.
Now it’s up to the National Labor Relations Board, a federal agency responsible for enforcing US labor laws, to set a date and ensure the election is appropriately run. Once the election is certified, the union will be official. The Communications Workers of America, which AEGIS will be partnered with, is the largest communications and media labor union in the United States, representing more than 700,000 employees. They will go by the local union number “CWA Local 9510,” which is used to identify a union’s location.