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BioWare contractors at Keywords Studios vote ‘yes’ in favor of union – Polygon

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Quality assurance (QA) workers at Keywords Studios’ Edmonton, Canada location, which supports BioWare projects like Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, have voted unanimously in favor of a union, they announced Monday.

The Alberta Labour Board counted the votes Monday and found all 16 eligible QA workers voted yes.

A representative for the new Keywords workers’ union said that bargaining will begin this week. A Keywords Studios representative pointed Polygon to a statement on its website:

Keywords Studios accept the vote of the 16 Edmonton staff who have chosen to unionize. We value our people and will continue to constantly strive to be a good employer. As an organization we want to ensure an engaging experience for all of our employees, and we take any concerns that our staff have seriously. We will continue to have an ongoing dialogue with all individuals in the Edmonton team, as we move forward together, always learning and improving.

“We’re ecstatic,” James, a Keywords Studios QA worker and organizing committee member, told Polygon on Monday. “We’re super happy. It will assist us going forward into bargaining that the whole team is completely united on this effort.”

Keywords Studio QA workers started talking about unionization in March after the studio implemented a return-to-office order that meant hundreds of dollars in extra expenses for commuting workers. Already frustrated by low pay, the workers found higher commuting costs harder to swallow, and also found the work-from-home flexibility a meaningful benefit. Keywords Studios QA workers said they don’t receive paid time off, which made going back to the office more challenging, too. Developing any COVID-19 symptoms would mean having to take a personal day off, rather than simply being able to work from home.

“We all got together and started talking about what it would look like in terms of costs for each of us individually,” James said. “We had a choice. We can either try to quit and go find another job, but we love what we do. We don’t want to leave. So we decided to try to form a union to see if we can drive some positive change in our workplace.”

Keywords Studios QA workers are organized under United Food and Commercial Workers Canada Union, Local No. 401. The group filed paperwork with the Alberta Labour Relations Board in April.

Keywords Studios was founded in 1998, with a headquarters in Ireland and more than 20 offices worldwide. Keywords itself does not publish or develop its own games, but instead provides art, audio, quality assurance, and development support for other studios.

Keywords Studios lists BioWare, owned by Electronic Arts since 2007, EA, Square Enix, and Blizzard Entertainment among several AAA studios and publishers that it supports. The Edmonton team, specifically, has worked on BioWare games like Mass Effect: Legendary Edition and a Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion. The team is currently working on the next Dragon Age.

The Keywords Studios union vote comes two weeks after Activision Blizzard QA workers at Raven Software formed a union with a 19-3 vote.

Labor organizing and unionization in the video game industry is more common outside of North America; the technology industry in North America historically been considered anti-union. Video game workers, in particular, have reported working long hours — sometimes up to 100 per week under crunch conditions — and low pay. QA workers, in particular, told Polygon in 2021 that they often feel disposable, with minimum-wage pay and contract work cycles.

Workers are pushing to change that environment, however, with QA workers leading the initiative for fairer working conditions.

James, the Keywords Studios QA worker, said the Keywords union has been in contact with their colleagues at Raven Software, who’ve supported their effort by sharing experiences and anti-union tactics to look out for. They’ve also received support from Game Workers Unite Montréal, an organization advocating for workers rights and unions in the video game industry.

“We’ve got a better chance of getting some better working conditions together,” James said.

Update: This story has been updated to include a statement from Keywords Studios.

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Stock market news live updates: Stock turn lower following last week's rebound – Yahoo Canada

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U.S. stocks closed a choppy session lower Monday, weighed down by losses in technology shares, after the major indexes failed to sustain momentum from last week’s rally.

The S&P 500 fell 0.3%, and Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 60 points, or 0.2% after each benchmark wavered between the red and the green throughout the trading day. The Nasdaq Composite declined 0.9%.

The moves follow a sharp rebound Friday that saw the S&P 500 surge 3% during the session and over 6% for the week, its second-best week this year and its first weekly rise since late May. Still, the benchmark index is on pace for its worst opening six months since 1970.

During the previous session, the Dow rose more than 800 points, or 2.7%, while the Nasdaq increased by more than 3.3%, leading to weekly gains for the indexes of more than 5% and 7%, respectively.

Some Wall Street strategists are hopeful that markets may have found a bottom.

“As bad as [this year] has been for investors, the good news is previous years that were down at least 15% at the midway point to the year saw the final six months higher every single time, with an average return of nearly 24%,” LPL Financial chief market strategist Ryan Detrick said in a note last week.

J.P. Morgan strategist Marko Kolanovic also predicted that U.S. equities may climb as much as 7% this week as investors rebalance portfolios amid the end of the month, second quarter, and first half of the year.

While sentiment on Wall Street appears optimistic, investors are in for a bevy of key economic reports and earnings that may sway markets this week and put hopes of a comeback to the test.

Quarterly results from Nike (NKE) and Micron (MU) will be closely watched for signs of rising inventories and slowing orders like Target and some other retailers have warned about recently, which may renew worries of an economic slowdown among Corporate America.

Traders also face a fairly loaded economic calendar this week, with the latest read on core PCE inflation – the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of consumer prices, the Conference Board’s consumer sentiment survey, and manufacturing and housing reports due out through Friday.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange NYSE in New York, the United States, June 16, 2022. U.S. stocks fell sharply on Thursday as steep sell-off continued on Wall Street amid rising recession fears. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images)A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange NYSE in New York, the United States, June 16, 2022. U.S. stocks fell sharply on Thursday as steep sell-off continued on Wall Street amid rising recession fears. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images)

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange NYSE in New York, the United States, June 16, 2022. U.S. stocks fell sharply on Thursday as steep sell-off continued on Wall Street amid rising recession fears. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images)

On the move

  • Robinhood Markets (HOOD)‘s stock surged 14% to close at $9.12 per share following a report from Bloomberg that cryptocurrency exchange FTX is considering a deal to acquire digital trading platform. Earlier in the day, Robinhood was in the spotlight after Goldman Sachs upgraded the brokerage to Neutral, about two months after the bank downgraded shares to Sell.

  • Coinbase (COIN) shares plunged nearly 10.8% to $55.96 after analysts at Goldman Sachs on Monday downgraded the cryptocurrency exchange to Sell from Neutral and slashed their price target on the stock to $45 from $70. Goldman also noted that while Coinbase recently announced it would cut 18% of staff, these layoffs will not be enough to bring the company’s costs in line with lowered sales.

  • AMC Entertainment (AMC) rallied to cap trading up 13.6% despite a turbulent session for the broader markets. The stock rose amid increased mentions across forums such as Reddit’s WallStreetBets and Stocktwits. AMC was also added to the Russell 1000 Index after an annual rebalancing.

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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Man uses Apple Airtags to find stolen Range Rover | CTV News – CTV News Toronto

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An Ontario man whose car was stolen from his driveway in midtown Toronto twice in three months is revealing how he tracked and located his second vehicle.

“It’s pretty scary, but you can’t live your life in fear,” Lorne, whose surname CTV News Toronto has omitted due to safety concerns, said on Monday.

On April 1, his family moved to the Avenue Road and Lawrence Avenue area.

The following day, employees from an electronics company arrived at his house to install televisions. He placed the keys of his Range Rover Autobiography into a faraday box, which is designed to prevent criminals from copying a key fob and gaining access to a vehicle.

However, within minutes of the employees leaving his house, his car was stolen in broad daylight.

“The thieves were able to disable the tracker in my car, put there by the manufacturer,” Lorne said.

Meanwhile, his wallet, along with his kids phones, which were in the car, were thrown out of the vehicle before it was stolen, which Lorne said he believes was a preventive measure to avoid him from tracking the location of his car.

His Range Rover was never recovered.

Thirty days later, he got a new car of the same model, but this time, he placed three Apple AirTag tracking devices inside – one in the glovebox, another in his spare tire in the trunk and a third under his back seat.

While Lorne said he typically parks in his garage, last Wednesday night, he didn’t.

At 8:30 a.m. the next morning, he said his kids ran into his bedroom screaming, ”Daddy, daddy, your car is gone.” 

Right away, he logged into his Find My app and located all three of his AirTags near Manville and Comsock roads in Scarborough, listed as a metal recycling plant. 

After dropping his kids at school, he headed to that location and called the police. With no success reaching an officer, he drove to the 41 Division police station.

Toronto police spokesperson David Hopkinson confirmed to CTV News Toronto that a report of this nature was received by police on Thursday.

“I pressed my panic button and you heard it going off,” Lorne said. “The next day I was told they recovered nine cars.”

Due to an ongoing investigation, police could not comment further on the incident.

This time, however, Lorne said police recovered his vehicle and he anticipates it should be back in his possession soon.

While he said his AirTags worked in this case, he anticipates car thefts will only get increasingly sophisticated.

“It’s not foolproof,” he said.

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Company buying Trump's social media app faces subpoenas – Yahoo Canada Finance

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NEW YORK (AP) — The company planning to buy Donald Trump’s new social media business has disclosed a federal grand jury investigation that it says could impede or even prevent its acquisition of the Truth Social app.

Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp. dropped almost 10% Monday as the company revealed that it has received subpoenas from a grand jury in New York.

The Justice Department subpoenas follow an ongoing probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission into whether Digital World broke rules by having substantial talks about buying Trump’s company starting early last year before Digital World sold stock to the public for the first time in September, just weeks before its announcement that it would be buying Trump’s company.

Trump’s social media venture launched in February as he seeks a new digital stage to rally his supporters and fight Big Tech limits on speech, a year after he was banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The Trump Media & Technology Group — which operates the Truth Social app and was in the process of being acquired by Digital World — said in a statement that it will cooperate with “oversight that supports the SEC’s important mission of protecting retail investors.”

The new probe could make it more difficult for Trump to finance his social media company. The company last year got promises from dozens of investors to pump $1 billion into the company, but it can’t get the cash until the Digital World acquisition is completed.

Stock in Digital World rocketed to more than $100 in October after its deal to buy Trump’s company was announced. The stock closed at $25.16 Monday.

Digital World is a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, part of an investing phenomenon that exploded in popularity over the past two years.

Such “blank-check” companies are empty corporate entities with no operations, only offering investors the promise they will buy a business in the future. As such they are allowed to sell stock to the public quickly without the usual regulatory disclosures and delays, but only if they haven’t already lined up possible acquisition targets.

Digital World said in a regulatory filing Monday that each member of its board of directors has been subpoenaed by the grand jury in the Southern District of New York. Both the grand jury and the SEC are also seeking a number of documents tied to the company and others including a sponsor, ARC Global Investments, and Miami-based venture capital firm Rocket One Capital.

Some of the sought documents involve “due diligence” regarding Trump Media and other potential acquisition targets, as well as communications with Digital World’s underwriter and financial adviser in its initial public offering, according to the SEC disclosure.

Digital World also Monday announced the resignation of one of its board members, Bruce Garelick, a chief strategy officer at Rocket One.

The Associated Press

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