Sega Workers Secure First Collective Bargaining Agreement With a Video Game Company

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On Tuesday, March 26, unionized Sega of America workers voted to ratify the first collectively-bargained agreement with a US video game company.

Workers rallied together under a union known as the Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega (AEGIS), and won a number of concessions for fellow employees.

Concessions included a commitment to crediting workers on games properly, layoff protections and base-building raises for all employees. Another notable concession for employees is just cause protections.

This makes it harder for Sega to terminate employees’ jobs, which is significant because Sega workers are employed at will, which means that employers can terminate employees for almost any reason provided the reason in question isn’t unlawful.

“One of our most notable items is our grievance process,” Em Geiger, a localization editor at Sega of America, said in an interview with Polygon. “There’s extra security knowing we have in place a system for bringing issues to the table, such as arguing just cause in a potential layoff. If the company wants to do something that the unit doesn’t like, we can grieve it, bargain over it, have our say before anything is finalized.”

After Sega of America proposed laying off 61 employees, AEGIS-SWA claims that they not only saved the jobs of eighteen employees but also managed to negotiate better severance packages for those laid off.

“One of the most difficult things about all of this was the mass layoff of temporary employees,” Geiger added. “There is no understating the enormous hit we took to our support numbers, to morale, to our working relationships when SOA announced they were going to lay off temps. A contract cannot ensure you aren’t laid off.”

“At the end of the day, it was a business decision,” Geiger continued. “But the anger and the grief and the sorrow were natural responses for us. At the very least, we were able to negotiate severance packages for those who were at risk of losing their jobs.”

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