The initial measures approaching prospective unionization are being taken by a handful of BioWare employees employed for a firm that serves the publisher.
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Canada Union, Local No. 401 has sought to establish itself as the “authorized negotiating representative” for a team of employees at Keywords Productions, that provides game development supporting solutions for stuff like generating art and conducting translation and QA screening.
A long list of well-known video game firms can be found on the homepage of the aforementioned publisher, and the list also includes the name of BioWare’s parent organization EA as well as Microsoft, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Square Enix, and Sega.
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Organizers want to unite “all personnel involved in technical assistance at the BioWare headquarters in Edmonton,” per a statement posted on Reddit by the Alberta Labour Relations Commission. However it’s not uncommon for companies to depend on recruitment firms and outsourcing work, it’s fascinating to learn that BioWare’s namesake headquarters employs employment firms. The message hasn’t appeared anywhere else, however, a Commission spokesperson verified to Kotaku that it was correct.
A proposal must have “at least 40 percent of votes from workers” to be approved by the Board of Directors. There may be a confidential poll if the situation demands it, in which particular instance the UFCW may serve them in negotiations. The Board as well as the UFCW haven’t yet responded to various gaming outlets for remarks or statements.
A preliminary start, however, comes in the wake of workplace protests against big-name video game developers like Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard, who have been accused of mistreating their employees. As recently as last month, the National Labor Relations Board granted twenty-one QA personnel at Raven Software (a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard) permission to vote on a contract for the first time in North American video game history.
A spokesperson for EA and sister firm EA did not reply to seeking a response from Kotaku, and neither did BioWare.