Tag Archives: union

Sega of America Workers Win Union Vote

Sega of America workers voted “yes” to officially form a union. The National Labor Relations Board counted the group’s mailed-in votes on Monday, with the Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega, or AEGIS, winning the vote, Polygon reported.

According to Polygon, one hundred and seventeen votes were counted, 91 votes for the union and 26 votes against. (Several votes were challenged and not counted.) The unit will include more than 200 roles at Sega of America’s Irvine, California office, Communication Workers of America said in a news release.

The union spans several different departments: marketing, games as a service, localization, product development, and quality assurance. The Irvine office, which opened in 2022, houses up to 235 workers. With this win, AGEIS-CWA is the first video game industry union at a major company that spans multiple departments. Boston-based Activision Blizzard studio Proletariat attempted this earlier in 2023, but ultimately pulled its union petition. Next, NLRB will have to certify the union before moving into bargaining.

IGN reported (in April of 2023) that a supermajority of workers at Sega of America have announced that they have formed a union under the Communications Workers of America, and are asking for voluntary recognition from company management.

According to IGN, AEGIS stated the following goals in its mission statement:

* Higher base pay for all, following industry standards, with raises tied to the cost of living and inflation.

* Improved, stable benefits for all, including healthcare, retirement, remote work opportunities, and more.

* Increased, clearly outlined opportunities for advancement.

* Balanced workloads and schedules, and defined responsibilities for all positions.

* Adequate staffing of departments to end patterns of overwork.

IGN also reported (in an article posted today) that a press release claims that the win makes the AEGIS-CWA the largest multi-department union of organized workers in the game industry.

AEGIS-CWA tweeted: “WE WON! We just won our union election 91-26. Our 200+ member union is now the LARGEST multi-department union of organized workers in the ENTIRE gaming industry. So excited to celebrate this win & head to the bargaining table w/@SEGA to continue building this company we love!”

Kotaku reported that the AGEIS-CWA group will now prepare to bargain on first contact with Sega on issues like pay, overtime, and promotion opportunities.

According to Kotaku, Sega President of America and COO Ian Curran finally acknowledged the union drive in an email to staff on Wednesday. Axios’ Stephen Totilo reported “Union matters are new to me,” he wrote, but said no employee would be treated any differently if they supported organizing. He did not say the company would voluntarily recognize the union, however, meaning a secret ballot with the NLRB will likely be forced instead.

Personally, I think that unionization makes every workplace better for employees. Being in a union means that the company must give the employees the majority of the things they have asked for after winning the vote for unionization. Failure to do so could potentially lead to litigation from the NLRB, or cause good workers to jump ship to other companies.

Apple Workers At Maryland Store Vote To Unionize

Apple employees at a Baltimore-area store have voted to unionize, making it the first of the company’s 270-plus stores in the United States to join a trend in labor organizing sweeping through retailers, restaurants, and tech companies, The New York Times reported.

The result, announced on Saturday by the National Labor Relations Board, provides a foothold for a budding movement among Apple retail employees who want a greater voice over wages and Covid-19 policies. Employees of more than two dozen Apple stores have expressed interest in unionizing in recent months, union leaders say.

According to The New York Times, in the election, 65 employees at Apple’s store in Towson, Md., voted in favor of being represented by the union, known as the Apple Coalition of Organized Retail Employees, while 33 voted against. It will be part of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, an industrial trade union that represents over 300,000 employees.

CNBC reported that the vote is a defeat for Apple, which has opposed unionization efforts, and could energize workers at the company’s other retail locations to move forward with organizing.

According to CNBC, The National Labor Relations Board still needs to certify the votes. That could take around a week. Apple is required to bargain with the union over working conditions after the vote is certified, according to the NLRB.

CNBC also noted that Apple is one of the most profitable companies in the world. It reported over $365 billion in global sales in 2021, and says its retail employees in the U.S. make at least $22 per hour.

TechCrunch reported that this historic victory comes after concentrated efforts from Apple to discourage its retail workers from unionizing. Last month, the trillion-dollar company’s vice president of people and retail Deirdre O’Brian sent a video to 58,000 retail staff, warning them about the perceived drawbacks of unionizing.

According to TechCrunch, O’Brian reiterated anti-union talking points, stating that it would be more difficult to enact change in stores with a union standing between Apple and employees – but workers don’t think that meaningful change is possible without having a formally recognized bargaining unit.

TechCrunch also noted that the Apple store in Maryland will become unionized through the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and are calling themselves the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (CORE). When they first announced their intent to unionize, they wrote a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The New York Times reported that at Starbucks, one of the companies where organizers have gained the most momentum, employees credited a vote to organize at a store in Buffalo with helping to spur other stores to file for union elections. Since that vote in December, more than 150 of the company’s roughly 9,000 corporate-owned stores in the U.S. have voted to unionize, according to the N.L.R.B.

Personally, I’m in favor of unionizing. I think that workers, who aren’t being treated well at their place of employment, should push to form a union. In some cases, the union is the only thing that can make things better for the workers – especially in companies that are strongly anti-union.