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Gaming QA Workers Say They Were Laid Off For Trying To Unionize

The Communication Workers of America filed a claim with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that a Microsoft-affiliated studio laid off 160 QA workers due to unionization efforts.


The CWA--the largest media labor union in the US--recently filed a claim with the National Labor Relations Board against what it describes as a "Microsoft supplier," stating that the company laid off an entire team of QA workers for trying to unionize.

According to a CWA news post announcing the claim, the Idaho-based team included 160 workers that were all let go by the company, Lionbridge Technologies. The company allegedly told workers that their project had ended, necessitating the layoffs. The news post claims that teams assigned to the same project in Mexico and Poland continued to work on it after the Idaho team's dissolution. The project was specifically associated with Activision, which is owned by Microsoft.

This isn't the first time that Lionbridge has been accused of union-busting activity. Back in 2016, the company laid off all union-affiliated employees after inking contracts with a group of temporary workers. At the time, the company's attorney blamed the layoffs on "reduced demand."

In the past two years, Activision owner Microsoft has made moves that appeared to signal some openness towards labor action in the long-union-free gaming industry. Back in 2022, the company formally recognized a QA union at Bethesda and ZeniMax of around 300 employees, which was then the biggest video-game union in the US.

GameSpot has reached out to Activision for comment, and we will update this piece accordingly if we hear back.

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