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Dragon Age: Dreadwolf Quality Assurance Workers Officially Vote to Unionize

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The group of Dragon Age: Dreadwolf Quality Assurance Workers who filed a unionisation request in April have now officially voted to unionize. As reported by Eurogamer, all 16 of the QA workers agreed to form a union in a unanimous result and bargaining between them and their employer Keywords Studios will now begin.

Though they work directly with developer BioWare on Dreadwolf, the workers are employed by supporting company Keywords Studios and filed to unionize over poor pay, a return to work mandate, and more.

“Keywords Studios accept the vote of the 16 Edmonton staff who have chosen to unionize,” the company said in a statement. “We value our people and will continue to constantly strive to be a good employer.

“As an organization we want to ensure an engaging experience for all of our employees, and we take any concerns that our staff have seriously. We will continue to have an ongoing dialogue with all individuals in the Edmonton team, as we move forward together, always learning and improving.”

A return to work ruling was the final straw for the QA workers that prompted their attempt to unionise, who were reportedly told they must return to in-person workers despite COVID-19 cases rising in Alberta and regular BioWare employees facing no such ruling.

The employees were also allegedly subject to poor pay, with some employees receiving $16.50 Canadian dollars per hour – $12.82 U.S. dollars – which is considerably less than identical roles carried out by full BioWare employees.

Other issues were also raised including gender-pay discrimination, a lack of useful performance evaluations, and a hostile response to unionization efforts. Even at the time of filing, the workers felt “very confident” they would win their vote after taking inspiration from the recent efforts of Raven Software QA employees to unionise.

They became the first union within Activision Blizzard despite alleged attempts from the developer to stop them. The workers were left out of recent pay increases at the company however, with Activision Blizzard saying it was “due to legal obligations under the National Labor Relations Act.”

Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer who occasionally remembers to tweet @thelastdinsdale. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.


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