Just three days after Microsoft announced its purchase of Activision Blizzard, employees of a developer owned by video game holding company Raven Software announced they were forming a union.
QA officers at the Wisconsin-based developer, which is behind Call of Duty: Warzone and Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War, have aligned themselves with the labor giant, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and call their group the Game Workers Alliance Union. The CWA is also behind the Vodeo Games union, recently voluntarily recognized by management, which the CWA called the first certified union in a video game studio in North America.
The Game Workers Alliance union is asking Activision Blizzard management for voluntary recognition. It is the first unit within the company to declare a union, and a group called the ABK Workers’ Alliance is also trying to organize workers at the company.
“Today, I am proud to join a super majority of my colleagues in building our union, Game Workers Alliance (CWA). In the video game industry, especially Raven QA, people are passionate about their work and the content they create. We want to make sure the passion of these workers is accurately reflected in our workplace and in the content we create. Our union is how our collective voices can be heard by leaders.” , QA II Functional Tester Becka Aigner said in a statement.
In its own statement, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said the company is “carefully considering” the application for voluntary recognition. “While we believe that a direct relationship between the company and its team members provides the best workforce opportunities, we deeply respect the rights of all employees under the law to make their own decisions. whether or not to join a union,” they added.
The news follows several weeks of strike action by workers at Raven QA, sparked by recent layoffs of quality assurance testers. CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens said in a statement, “A collective agreement will give Raven QA employees have a voice at work, improving the games they produce and making the company stronger. Voluntary recognition is the rational way forward.
In 2021, Activision Blizzard workers resigned multiple times over layoffs and working conditions for marginalized groups, and the company also faced several sexual harassment complaints that sparked investigations by agencies. California and Federal. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said on a Tuesday morning conference call discussing the company’s Activision Blizzard deal, “As CEO of Microsoft, the culture of our organization is my number one priority.” He added: “It’s hard work, it requires consistency, commitment and leadership that not only talks, but walks.”
In response to Tuesday’s Microsoft deal announcement ABK Workers’ Alliance tweeted that the news was “surprising” but “we remain committed to fighting for a better workplace and the rights of our employees, regardless of the financial control of the company”.