Quality assurance (QA) testers working on Dragon Age: Dreadwolf have voted in favour or unionising.
Yesterday (June 6), employees at Keywords Studios voted 16-0 in favour of forming a union. The union vote took place in Keywords Studios’ Edmonton office where, as contractors for BioWare, the team is currently working on Dragon Age: Dreadwolf. In the past, Keywords Studios has supported BioWare with Mass Effect Legendary Edition.
The employees started their unionisation process in April this year, after they were told that a return to in-person working at BioWare’s office would be expected, while full-time BioWare employees still had the option to work from home. This was compounded by high COVID cases at the time and a lack of paid time off, meaning employees who caught COVID would be forced to use up personal days to isolate.
Speaking to Polygon, James – one of Keywords Studios’ QA employees and an organising member of yesterday’s vote – said the team was “ecstatic” with the result, and said that “it will assist us going forward into bargaining that the whole team is completely united on this effort.”
“We’ve got a better chance of getting some better working conditions together,” James added. He also revealed that the union has been in touch with employees at Raven Software, who voted to unionise last month. Their contact meant that Raven Software workers were able to advise unionisers at Keywords Studios on which union-busting tactics to look out for, and share their own experiences regarding the unionisation process.
In response to the successful unionisation vote, Keywords Studios shared the following statement:
“Keywords Studios accept the vote of the 16 Edmonton staff who have chosen to unionise. We value our people and will continue to constantly strive to be a good employer. As an organization we want to ensure an engaging experience for all of our employees, and we take any concerns that our staff have seriously. We will continue to have an ongoing dialogue with all individuals in the Edmonton team, as we move forward together, always learning and improving.”
In other gaming news, EA has released a statement supporting LGBTQ+ rights, following internal pressure placed on leadership within the company.