SEGA of America Workers Vote to Unionize

The AEGIS-CWA union is now the first multi-departmental video game union in the U.S.
sonic the hedgehog in front of sega sign
Image Credit: Getty Images

Workers at Sega of America, the North American branch of the Japanese company behind Sonic the Hedgehog, voted on Monday to form the first multi-departmental video game union in the U.S. 

The vote was held as a mail-in election beginning on June 16, and ballots were counted on July 10 by a National Labor Relations Board representative from Region 21 in Los Angeles. The approximate number of eligible voters was 212. Out of 136 valid votes cast, there were 91 votes for unionization, and 26 votes against. Additionally, there were 19 ballots challenged, and three ballots marked as void, due to identifying information.


The workers are based out of the company’s California offices in Irvine and Burbank, and their unit includes members of numerous departments, including Brand Marketing, Product Development, Sales, and Quality Assurance. Those offices are responsible for game development, marketing, and media streaming opportunities in the U.S. Workers have unionized as the ​​Allied Employees Guild Improving SEGA (AEGIS-CWA), with the Communications Workers of America.

“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 when the unionization was first announced in April. “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.”

When the union was first announced, the company’s president and COO, Ian Curran, sent an email to employees about Sega of America’s plan regarding the organizing effort, according to a Sega of America spokesperson. 

“Some of you may support unionization and some not,” the email, which was forwarded to Motherboard by the spokesperson, stated. “That is your legal right. No SOA employee will be treated any differently whether they support or do not support unionization. We have a wonderful culture at SOA with a strong commitment to working together as a team. In my mind, it is the SOA employee culture that makes us such a successful company.”

The AEGIS-CWA union is now the first multi-departmental video game union in the U.S., and it marks the latest event in 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 at around 300 members. Microsoft, which has a neutrality agreement with the CWA, recognized the union. Workers said at the time that they had organized for reasons that “felt like death in a thousand cuts,” and gave examples 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.