The Communications Workers of America has filed a charge with the Unfair Labor Practice office, accusing SEGA of side-stepping the AEGIS-CWA organisation in an attempt to lay off unionised workers.
According to a report on Kotaku, on November 6 the house of Sonic "delivered a proposal to 'phase out' all temporary workers by February 2024 — many of which are in quality assurance and localization — to the Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega (AEGIS-CWA)... The layoffs would impact 40 percent of the group, or roughly 80 unionized employees total."
With the filing, Kotaku writes that the union organisation accuses SEGA of "forcing employees into a meeting where they were told their jobs would be offshored to Japan and Europe, rather than bargaining over the layoffs directly with the union." If upheld, this means that SEGA would be in violation of rules against companies negotiating with employees rather than the unions that represent them.
The Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega (AEGIS-CWA) union was formed only a few months ago, with the group representing a broad range of talent within the company, across marketing, sales, product development and other departments. Naturally, the organisation is not impressed with this latest news.
"We hoped that Sega management would bargain in good faith, but instead they've shown disregard to status quo and are threatening to outsource the jobs of a majority of the workforce in our QA and Localization departments, which is up to 40% of our unit," reads a statement on the organisation's Twitter account today. "QA and Loc workers are critical to Sega of America's success. We remain united in our commitment to protect our coworkers and friends."
Meanwhile Elise Willacker, a senior QA tester at SEGA, offered the following statement to Kotaku; "It’s disheartening to see such actions from Sega, as it unmistakably demonstrates bad faith bargaining and a refusal to recognize the valuable contributions of a significant portion of our colleagues. We have filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge to call out Sega’s direct dealing with members, and its breaching of the status quo by telling bargaining unit members that our jobs would be ending shortly."
The complaint will head to the National Labor Relations Board for review, but there is fear that any investigations would not conclude in enough time to avoid any layoffs planned by SEGA. We'll keep you updated if there is any further news to come.