Sega Workers Become First Major Gaming Company To Ratify Union Contract

Sega layoff

In a first for a major gaming company, workers at Sega of America have ratified a union contract.

First reported by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, this new contract will cover about 150 employees — both temporary and full-time — within the company’s marketing and other departments at its Southern California offices.

According to the report, workers covered under the Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega (AEGIS) union at Sega will receive a minimum yearly pay increase of 4% in 2024, 3% in 2025, and 2.5% in 2026. Other benefits include layoff protections such as severance and a recall list, Just Cause protections, crediting all workers for the games they work on, and more.

“One of our most notable items is our grievance process,” Sega localization editor and AEGIS-CWA member Em Geiger said to Polygon. “There’s extra security knowing we have in place a system for bringing issues to the table, such as arguing Just Cause in a potential layoff.

“If the company wants to do something that the unit doesn’t like, we can grieve it, bargain over it, have our say before anything is finalized. And concerning Just Cause, we’re now the second unit in this industry in North America to have protections against arbitrary discipline and discharge.”

The negotiations between SEGA of America and AEGIS-CWA took six months. It was something Geiger said was challenging for a number of reasons.

“One of the most difficult things about all of this was the mass layoff of temporary employees,” Geiger told Polygon.

“There is no understating the enormous hit we took to our support numbers, to morale, to our working relationships when SOA announced they were going to lay off temps. A contract cannot ensure you aren’t laid off. At the end of the day, it was a business decision. But the anger and the grief and the sorrow were natural responses for us. At the very least, we were able to negotiate severance packages for those who were at risk of losing their jobs.”

Insider Gaming has reached out to Sega of America for comment, and will update this story should a response be received.

Do you think Sega employees ratifying their union will be the start of more unions in the gaming industry? For more Insider Gaming, read about popular streamer Ninja’s recent cancer diagnosis.