Sega of America has been accused of union busting and had an unfair labour practice complaint lodged against it by workers. The employees claim that the company forced them into a meeting to inform them that their jobs were being outsourced, rather than negotiating with their union.
As reported by Kotaku, on November 6, Sega informed the Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega (AEGIS-CWA), a union formed earlier this year, of a plan to “phase out” all of its temporary workers. The workers allege that the company then elected to deliver news of these plans to them in a mandatory meeting, rather than negotiating with their union over the proposed changes.
“We’re disappointed that Sega management has not yet ceased their union busting, even after we’ve won our union election back in July,” the Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega (AEGIS-CWA) wrote in a statement posted to Twitter.
“We hoped that Sega management would bargain in good faith,” the statement continued, “but instead they've shown disregard to [the] status quo and are threatening to outsource the jobs of a majority of the workforce in our QA and Localization departments, which is up to 40% of our unit.
“QA and Loc workers are critical to Sega of America's success. We remain united in our commitment to protect our coworkers and friends.”
We’re disappointed that Sega management has not yet ceased their union busting, even after we’ve won our union election back in July. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/JIGlD9GHjM— AEGIS-CWA ? #UnionizeSEGA (@takesAEGIS) November 16, 2023
In an additional statement to Kotaku, Sega senior QA tester Elise Willacker said: ““We have filed an Unfair Labour Practice charge to call out Sega’s direct dealing with members, and its breaching of the status quo by telling bargaining unit members that our jobs would be ending shortly.”
This charge will now be reviewed by the National Labor Relations Board, though might not be dealt with quickly enough to prevent any layoffs from taking place. The Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega represents over 200 staff members across numerous departments at Sega, with around 80 members of the union reportedly in line to be affected by the proposed layoffs.
We've reached out to Sega of America to request comment on these accusations and will update this article ASAP if we recieve a response.
As for what these layoff plans could mean for the consumer, a decrease in QA and localisation staff at Sega of America could potentially create a less rigourous testing process for the publisher's games, which may lead to more teething issues with its games immediately following release. That said, we'll have to see how the situation plays out before drwaing any concrete conclusions.
This is the latest in a series of sweeping layoffs and allusions to potential layoffs across the games industry this year. Just yesterday, Digital Bros, the company behind publisher 505 Games, announced that it expects to lay off 30% of its global workforce as part of an “organisational review”.