Canada’s first unionized game developers vote unanimously in favour of strike action

EDMONTON, Alberta, Oct. 23, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401 (UFCW Canada Local 401) working at Keyword Studios in Edmonton have unanimously voted in favour of strike action.

The union representing workers at Keywords Edmonton, UFCW Canada Local 401, has filed an unfair labour practice complaint at the Alberta Labour Relations Board against their employer.

The workers at Keywords Studios were laid off in September amidst negotiations to achieve a first collective agreement. The team had joined UFCW Canada in Summer 2022 – making history by becoming the first ever workers in Canada’s videogame industry to form a union in their workplace.

The team had previously worked on quality assurance and testing for industry heavyweight BioWare, owned by Electronic Arts. At the time of unionizing, workers cited low wages, lack of benefits such as sick pay, and more.

“The videogame industry is wrought with poor working conditions including instances of work weeks of up to 80 hours or more for extended periods of time,” says UFCW Canada Local 401 President Thomas Hesse. “As long as this is the case, more workers will continue to unionize. This strike is a fight for all workers in the videogame industry and it is about holding the company to account rather than allowing them to abandon the collective bargaining process.”

The Union, along with other labour allies, will be rallying outside of the BioWare Edmonton offices on Tuesday, October 24, 2023.

What: Rally to support Canada’s first unionized game developers

Who: UFCW Canada Canada Local 401 alongside other union allies

When: Tuesday, October 24, 2023; Rally begins at 11 a.m.

Where: BioWare Edmonton Offices; 10423 101 St. NW, Edmonton, Alberta T5H 0E7

As Canada's leading union for retail and food workers, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW Canada) represents over 250,000 workers across the country working in the food retail and processing, agriculture, health care, security, and hospitality industries, as well as other sectors of the economy. UFCW Canada is the country's most innovative organization dedicated to building fairness in workplaces and communities.


Pablo Godoy

Western Canada Director

UFCW Canada, United Food and Commercial Workers Union

Phone: 403-542-2366