Workers at Sega of America’s Irvine office in California have announced plans to form a union. The union will be called Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega (AEGIS), and the group is working with the labor union Communications Workers of America on the initiative.
“We are united in our belief that by banding together, we can secure a future where we are empowered to advocate for ourselves, and for our colleagues,” AEGIS said in a statement.
The organization is asking Sega of America to recognize its union without interference. Sega shared a statement with GameSpot from Sega of America president and COO Ian Curran. Curran sent a memo to staff regarding the unionization effort. Curran said Sega of America employees can take part in a potential upcoming vote with the understanding that they won’t be treated any differently.
“Some of you may support unionization and some not. That is your legal right. No SOA employee will be treated any differently whether they support or do not support unionization. We have a wonderful culture at SOA with a strong commitment to working together as a team. In my mind, it is the SOA employee culture that makes us such a successful company,” Curran said.
AEGIS went on to say it is forming a union because its current “lack of control” over its working conditions has “hampered” its goal to create great games for passionate fans.
“In the interest of delivering the best quality products to our fans, we must have the opportunity to make decisions that impact our working conditions,” AEGIS went on to say. “We must ensure that Sega remains competitive in a growing industry.”
The workers’ union added that current wages at Sega of America’s Irvine, California office are “below the industry average” and that the company’s workers have “weak benefits” and a “lack of paths to promotion.”
According to AEGIS, nearly a third of “long-time” workers at Sega of America do not have full-time status, paid time off, proper training, or bereavement leave. AEGIS is looking for better compensation in a number of ways. Here are the highlights–as written by AEGIS:
- “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 advancements.”
- “Balanced workloads and schedules, and defined responsibilities for all positions.”
- “Adequate staffing of departments to end patters of overwork.”
AEGIS said its demands are “already in line with Sega’s core values.” And if Sega management can meet these demands, it will help to “strengthen our company and improve the quality of the games we produce,” AEGIS said.
The group said it hopes to collaborate with other Sega branches worldwide to help improve conditions.
According to Polygon, 144 people at Sega of America’s office in Irvine are part of this push to unionize, including staffers in QA, development, localization, and marketing. It’s one of Sega of America’s newest offices, having opened in 2022.
In February of this year, Sega Sammy–the company that owns Sega–announced that its workers in Japan would get a 30% raise to “create a more comfortable working environment.”
The Sega of America Irvine office’s campaign to form a workers’ union follows a similar effort from the Boston-based studio Proletariat. The company, which is owned by Activision Blizzard, withdrew its bid to unionize in January 2023. This followed an attempt by Bethesda QA workers to unionize in 2022. Also in 2022, 22 people at Call of Duty studio Raven Software voted to form a union.
Workers’ unions are commonplace in the world of film and television production, but the video game industry remains largely non-unionized.
In other Sega news, the company just bought Angry Birds. The mobile game’s mascot is now playing Smash or Pass on TikTok.
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