BioWare contractors doing QA work on Mass Effect and more want a union

Employees at Keywords Studios, who have previously supported BioWare’s quality assurance (QA) efforts, are moving toward union according to paperwork filed in Canada. Polygon confirmed the filing to the Alberta Labor Relations Board on Monday.

An account called KeywordsUnitedYEG posted a message on Reddit’s Alberta forum, also on Monday, noting that workers had organized under United Food and Commercial Workers Canada Union, Room 401, to become the Certified Bargaining Agent for a unit of employees in Keywords Studios BC This means that the next Mass Effect or Dragon Age game may eventually be tested by union workers.

Keywords is a company that provides “long-term and cost-effective video game testing solutions” to other developers, according to its website. It lists BioWare, Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, Google, Intel, Sony and Square Enix as some of its partners. According to the company’s official website, it provided the QA for the latest Dragon Age and Mass Effect titles – which are BioWare’s most successful series.

This is another step forward for the gaming industry union, as some studios seem to be organizing themselves despite opposition from publishers and management. Raven Software, a support QA studio that worked on the popular Call of Duty franchise, is also in the early stages of a union effort.

Polygon has contacted United Food and Commercial Workers Canada Union, Local No. 401 as well as Keywords, BioWare and Electronic Arts for further comments.

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