The company that employs a group of BioWare contractors trying to unionize has reversed a policy requiring workers to return to the office, according to an internal email seen by the edge. The back-to-office policy was one of the key reasons the contractors, based in Edmonton, Canada, and employees of development support company Keywords Studios, began organizing. Full-time BioWare employees offered hybrid work-from-home option, Keywords Studios employees said the edge.
Previously, Keywords Studios employees working out of BioWare’s Edmonton office were expected to return to the office today, May 9. But in an email sent Friday, they were told to “continue to work from home until further notice.” Keywords Studios did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Alberta Labor Relations Board also officially mandated a mail-in unionization vote, according to a notice seen by the edge. The Board also recommended that the potential bargaining unit be expanded from all Keywords Studios workers “employed in support of development at BioWare’s Edmonton office” to “all employees”.
According to a Keywords Studios employee involved in the organizing efforts, the revised description would apply only to Keywords Studios employees in Alberta and means two additional non-BioWare workers will receive tickets. The size of the bargaining unit is expected to be between 15 and 20 people. Completed ballots will remain sealed until the bargaining unit size is finalized.
Keywords Studios offers services such as localization and QA testing for game developers. Staff embedded with BioWare’s Edmonton team have worked on titles such as Mass Effect Legendary Editionthe last Star Wars, The Old Republic expansion, and Dragon Age 4. The group’s unionization efforts follow other labor organizations in the gaming industry, such as Raven Software’s QA employees being allowed hold a union election.