Sonic Frontiers Sonic Frontiers

On Monday, April 24, a supermajority of workers at Sega of America in Irvine, California announced that they are unionizing as the Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega (AEGIS), in partnership with the Communication Workers of America’s campaign to organize digital employees in the tech, games, and digital industries.

What inspired the unionization effort? AEGIS organizers have been communicating across departments at Sega of America to better understand the issues facing all workers at the company. In doing so, the group discovered that nearly one-third of Sega’s long-time workers don’t hold full-time status, paid time off, proper training, or bereavement leave. The group also says that current company pay rates aren’t competitive within the industry and haven’t kept up with cost-of-living increases.

What do the workers want? The bargaining group is looking for:

  • More competitive pay to keep up with industry standards, cost of living increases, and inflation.
  • Better health care, retirement, and remote work opportunities.
  • Increased and more clearly defined opportunities for advancement.
  • More balanced workloads and schedules and better-defined responsibilities for all positions.
  • Adequate staffing to end patterns of overwork.

What are they saying? In a release, AEGIS-CWA explained:

As employees at Sega, our goal is to create high-quality games and cross-media experiences for our wide, devoted fanbase. Our lack of control over our own working conditions has greatly hampered this goal. 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. We must ensure that Sega remains competitive in a growing industry. Amidst wages that are below the industry average, weak benefits, and a lack of paths to promotion, unionization is our answer.

Mohammad Saman, Sega QA lead and AEGIS member, said:

Working for SEGA is a passion for many of us and it’s been so exciting to see that through organizing, we can make this work a sustainable long-term career. By creating our union, AEGIS-CWA, we’ll have a say in the decisions that shape our working conditions and ensure the job security and working conditions we deserve. We’re excited to protect what already makes SEGA great, and help build an even stronger company, together.

The start of something: Sega of America employees join a group of early forerunners of the unionization movement at major video game studios in the U.S. In January of last year, QA testers at Raven Software (Activision Blizzard) became the first group of workers at a major American studio to vote to unionize. In December 2022, game testers at Blizzard Albany voted to unionize, and in January of this year, game testers at Microsoft’s Zenimax Studios did the same.

Pictured at top: Sonic Frontiers

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