SEGA of America Workers Are Unionizing

Workers at Sega of America would form the first multi-departmental video game union in the U.S.
sonic the hedgehog
Image Credit: Getty Images

A supermajority of workers at Sega of America, the North American branch of the Japanese multinational game developer who publishes Sonic the Hedgehog, are organizing a union, according to an announcement released Monday. 

The workers, located at the company’s international headquarters in Irvine, California, will unionize as the Allied Employees Guild Improving SEGA (AEGIS), in partnership with the Communications Workers of America (CWA). That office is responsible for game development, marketing, and media streaming opportunities in the U.S. The current unit includes 144 workers in the company’s marketing, localization, development, and quality assurance teams.


“We are unionizing because we love the games that we work on, we love our coworkers, and we love working at SEGA,” the union tweeted. “But unfortunately for many this job is not sustainable. Our goal is to make SEGA someplace where we feel employees can thrive for many years to come.” 

The union will demand higher base pay to accommodate industry standards and cost of living increases, better healthcare and remote work opportunities, and clearer staffing to “end patterns of overwork,” according to a press release. 

“Amidst wages that are below the industry average, weak benefits, and lack of paths to promotion, unionization is our answer,” the union wrote on Twitter. “As one example, nearly a third of SEGA’s long-time workers still lack full-time status, paid time off, proper training, or even bereavement leave, despite dedicating years of their lives to SEGA.” 

The union is requesting voluntary recognition from Sega, which it says has a “stated code of conduct to ‘respect our employees’ right to organize for labor-management consultation.’” Sega did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The AEGIS-CWA union would be the first multi-departmental video game union in the U.S., and it joins a growing trend of game developers organizing for better conditions. Earlier this year, quality assurance workers at Microsoft’s Zenimax studios, which publishes the Elder Scrolls  and Doom series, formed the biggest union in video game history. Microsoft, which has a neutrality agreement with the CWA, recognized the union. Workers said at the time that the reason they had organized “felt like death in a thousand cuts,” and included reasons like low pay and forced overtime. Workers at Activision-Blizzard have also been making formal efforts to unionize, and workers at eBay’s TCGPlayer, the company’s trading card game site, say they faced retaliation before winning their vote

“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,” Mohammad Saman, a quality assurance worker and AEGIS-CWA organizer, said in a press release. “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.”