Sega of America union ratifies its first contract

Sega of America union AEGIS-CWA has officially passed its first contract, protecting 150 unionised employees.
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Sega of America union AEGIS-CWA has officially announced the ratification of its first major contract as a union. The contract, which is now confirmed by Sega of America management, contains a number of protections for around 150 unionised staff, as well as provisions for pay rises, and a new commitment to crediting all staff who work on a game.

Of the protections detailed, the most pertinent is layoff protections. As part of the new AEGIS-CWA contract, there will need to be a recall list and severance in the event of layoffs, with the union needing to be engaged on these matters.

“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,” Em Geiger, Sega localisation editor and member of AEGIS-CWA said in a press release, per IGN. “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 finalised.”

Read: Sega of America workers vote to form major union

According to Geiger, AEGIS-CWA is now the second games industry union to have “protections against arbitrary discipline and discharge.” With these provisions now ratified in a contract, there is more hope that any future layoffs or structural changes at Sega of America will be more humane, with firm input from unionised employees.

The move comes after a major layoff at Sega of America which saw around 60 staff in QA and localisation lose their jobs. AEGIS-CWA negotiated to reduce the impact of Sega’s layoffs, and provide severance to employees, and it hopes to strengthen these protections in future.

“The mass layoffs SOA implemented were an enormous hit to our numbers, and to our overall morale,” Geiger said. “We negotiated severance packages and some employee retention, but there was an undeniable shift once the grief of those losses settled in. But in spite of this, after months of work, we have our contract.”

Going forward, Geiger hopes AEGIS-CWA can serve as inspiration for other games industry employees looking to better protect their workplace rights.

“Sega is a household name, and what we can do is encourage anyone else who might be thinking about unionising, or are in the process and haven’t gone public yet, to do so with enthusiasm and pride. You can only benefit from unionising. We truly, madly, deeply wish for a better standard of work and wage within this industry. And hopefully, our contract can help serve as an example for those who will one day write their own.”

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.