Sega accused of threatening unionised workers with layoffs, says report

Sonic and Persona Publisher Sega Accused of Threatening Unionized Workers

Sonic and Persona publisher Sega is facing criticism after being accused of threatening its unionized workers with layoffs. The Communications Workers of America has filed an unfair labor practice complaint against Sega in response to these allegations.

Union Meeting

According to a report from Kotaku, Sega of America brought union members into a meeting on 6th November and informed them of a proposal to “phase out” all temporary employees by February 2024.

Unfair Labor Practice Complaint

In response to the actions taken by Sega, the union, Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega (AEGIS-CWA), filed a complaint with the National Labour Relations Board. They accused Sega of violating the rule which states companies must not negotiate directly with unionized employees instead of with their union. The complaint was based on the fact that affected employees were made to attend a mandatory meeting to receive the news, rather than having the union bargain with the company as a whole.

Union’s Response

In response to the situation, AEGIS-CWA expressed disappointment with Sega’s management for not ceasing their actions and accused the company of “union busting.” The union hoped that Sega’s management would bargain in good faith, but felt that they had disregarded the status quo. According to the union, up to 40 percent of its members will be impacted by Sega’s plan to outsource jobs to Japan and Europe.

AEGIS-CWA was formed in July 2023 after an overwhelming majority vote from eligible employees. It currently has over 200 members representing various departments including marketing, localization, and quality assurance.

Employee Reactions

Elise Willacker, a senior QA tester at Sega, described the company’s behavior as “disheartening.” In a statement to Kotaku, they accused the company of demonstrating bad faith bargaining and a refusal to recognize the valuable contributions of a significant portion of their colleagues. The union has filed an unfair labor practice charge to call out Sega’s direct dealing with members and its breaching of the status quo by informing bargaining unit members of their impending job terminations.

Next Steps

The complaint will now go to the National Labour Relations Board for review, and investigations into such charges typically take seven to 14 weeks. Some cases can take even longer, which raises concerns about the potential impact on affected employees. Eurogamer has reached out to Sega for comment on this matter.