All of Keywords Studios’ unionized QA workers were laid off in late September 2023 BioWare declined to continue the company’s contract in August 2023.
These QA workers were contracted to help out with the playtesting and quality assurance at BioWare Edmonton. Last June 2022, the workers won their union vote with all 16 eligible voters saying yes to joining United Food and Commercial Workers Canada Union, Local No. 401. This made it the group the games industry union in Canada, a historic moment for the country. The workers negotiated with the company when they got laid off after the news of the 50 jobs cuts at BioWare.
A UFCW representative confirmed with Polygon that there were 13 people that got laid off who were supporting BioWare. Keywords Studios Global Head of Marketing Liz Corless confirmed that 13 Edmonton-based QA workers were laid off.
“We can confirm that regrettably the 13 Edmonton-based staff have now left the business following the end of a fixed term client contract,” Corless said.
It was revealed that the group of workers were laid off on September 27, 2023. James Russwurm, a worker from Keywords Studios has revealed that the studio has “taken the position there is no more work available.”
Russwurm has also said that the union filed an employment standards complaint against Keywords Studios this week, but it only offered minimal severance. The group is now disputing this.