Workers at Sega of America are accusing the video game company of “bad faith bargaining with workers” for its plan to lay off dozens of temporary workers. The publisher known for franchises that include Sonic the Hedgehog and Yakuza is now facing an unfair labor practice complaint filed by the Communications Workers of America (CWA). In April, 200 people in various departments across the company overwhelmingly voted in favor of unionization and formed the Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega (AEGIS-CWA) under the CWA. Now, Sega allegedly intends to lay off 80 of those unionized workers.
In its complaint, the CWA explained that it’s been in bargaining with Sega since September. On November 6, Sega apparently presented the organization with a proposal to phase out of all its temporary employees by taking their work offshore to the company’s offices in Europe and Japan by February 2024. Those temporary employees make up 40 percent of the union’s bargaining unit and mostly work in quality assurance and localization, which the group describes as “critical to Sega’s success.”
The afternoon after their meeting, the CWA said Sega presented its proposal to the affected employees through captive audience meetings. “We believe this is a clear case of bad faith bargaining,” the CWA wrote in its complaint, since Sega dealt directly with the union members and “violated status quo” by telling them they’re losing their jobs.
“Sega will not be allowed to get away with this unlawful behavior,” Elise Willacker, Senior QA Tester Temp, said in a statement. “We call on the company to make all temporary employees permanent and return to the bargaining table in good faith. There is no other just alternative.” As Kotaku notes, the organization’s complaint is now in the hands of the National Labor Relations Board, but it may take a while to resolve and may not prevent the layoffs from taking place.