Dragon Age 4 QA devs will unionize following unanimous vote

Dragon Age 4 QA testers at Keywords Studios have voted unanimously to unionize, the KWS Edmonton United group has announced.

Keywords Studios is a support studio whose QA contractors are working directly on the new Dragon Age game, now officially titled Dragon Age: Dreadwolf. Previously, Keywords contractors have worked on other big BioWare projects like Mass Effect: Legendary Edition and DLC for Star Wars: The Old Republic.

In April, a group of Keywords contractors filed an application to unionize with the Alberta Labor Relations Board under the name Keywords Edmonton United, citing low pay and Covid-19 safety as the primary reasons for them seeking change. Now, the group says it has all the votes it needs to move forward and begin the bargaining process as early as this week. A statement (opens in new tab) from Keywords Studios says the company “accepts” the vote and “will continue to constantly strive to be a good employer.”

“I was extremely pleased, it’s a great way to start off the week,” Keywords QA tester Hope Docking tells GamesRadar in an email exchange. “While we were confident about winning the vote, it feels even better to have it confirmed that it was unanimous. It’s also been great to see the positive support and congratulations roll in. I hope our success can encourage other workers to organize their workplaces!”

Docking says the issue she most hopes will be addressed in the bargaining phase is pay, which she feels hasn’t scaled appropriately to meet the rising cost of living in Canada and her employer’s own profits. 

“Here, like for many workers elsewhere, we’ve been impacted by a rising cost of living with no wage increase to offset this issue, despite our employers profits rising based on our work,” Docking says.

We’ve reached out to a separate spokesperson for the union and will update this article if we hear back.

Just a couple of weeks back, Activision Blizzard employees formed the first major North American games union, hoping to inspire a “growing movement of workers.”

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