The Sonic the Hedgehog creator, SEGA, is in hot water after allegedly threatening to fire roughly 80 staff members after they unionized mid-way through October.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) alleges in an unfair labor practice filing that Sega of America failed to bargain with the union before telling employees their jobs would be given to others from Japan and Europe.
This comes after SEGA proposed gradually eliminating all temporary employees on Nov. 6, according to Kotaku. Employees learned they were on the chopping block through a forced meeting, potentially violating union regulations.
These union regulations require Sega of America to communicate with the union, instead of heading to employees directly. According to reports, several employees on the firing line are members of the Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega (AEGIS-CWA) union, thus leading to the CWA taking action.
The AEGIS-CWA currently represents 200 employees throughout Sega of America, and as of July. 11, became the largest “multi-department union” in the gaming industry. If layoffs were to proceed, Sega of America would lose 40 percent of its unionized workforce.
This isn’t a foreign issue in the gaming industry—layoffs have spread far and wide over the past year. At every stage of game development and publishing, there have been substantial layoffs throughout November alone.
Game engine developer giant Unity announced there would be substantial layoffs in the coming quarter. Amazon Games also dropped a staggering 180 employees this week.
Even the esports side has seen a dramatic amount of layoffs with 100 Thieves reducing its workforce for a second time this year. On the production side, streaming giant Twitch saw 400 layoffs in March due to increased competition in the landscape.
By the looks of it, this trend will continue to happen with multiple companies on different levels of the gaming industry.