Employees at Keywords Studios employed in support of BioWare’s Edmonton office are looking to unionize. The news comes from a post made by KeywordsUnitedYEG on the Alberta Reddit board. The efforts come under the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada Union, Local No. 401. Keywords Studios employees will now prepare for a vote. Following the vote, they will see if “they want the union to represent them in collective bargaining with the employer.”
Keywords Studio is a video game industry services company. They “build world leading capabilities in services that video game and similar interactive content creators need.” In addition, they offer art services, quality assurance testing, marketing services, and more.
Keywords Studios have worked with numerous companies, but one of the most notable is BioWare. Keywords Studios wants to work on upcoming BioWare games. Because of this, it makes sense to want to strengthen their positions with BioWare as a client. With both a new Mass Effect and Dragon Age off in the future, their services will likely be very important in their development. Other clients include Electronic Arts, Google, Bandai Namco, Square Enix, Nintendo, etc.
In recent months, they aren’t the first studio looking to unionize, either. Following Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Raven Software began to take steps to do the same after weeks of being on strike. The folks over at Raven QA even tweeted out in support of Keywords Studios.
Raven Software’s principles include eliminating crunch and the mental stress it causes. In addition, they ask for more clarity from leadership. Respect and appropriate compensation is requested from their client as well. The principles for Keywords Studios have yet to be released. They’re likely reaching toward similar goals as BioWare moves forward with development on two of their biggest upcoming games.