Activision Blizzard won't recognize Raven Software union, will reorganize QA workers [update]

Raven Software Activision Blizzard
Raven Software Activision Blizzard (Image credit: Activision)

Updated 8:20 p.m. ET: Activision Blizzard released a statement confirming it won't be recognizing the union.

What you need to know

  • Activision Blizzard has not responded to Raven Software QA workers' call to unionize by the deadline Tuesday evening.
  • The company also announced its plan to reorganize the QA team across multiple departments following the unionization announcement.
  • QA union members will now file for a union election.

Activision Blizzard has not responded to Raven Software QA workers' request to unionize Tuesday, meaning the union is set to file for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). This comes on the heels of a reorganization of the company's QA department, which was conveyed to workers on Monday, according to Polygon.

The Washington Post reported the news on the union deadline, adding that the union can file with the NLRB. Once that goes through, Activision Blizzard needs to start bargaining with the union in earnest.

It's been a few days since Raven Software QA workers announced it would be planning to unionize into the Game Workers Alliance after ending a seven-week-long strike last week. The strike was in recognition of the QA contractors who were laid off in December.

This would be the first video game union at a major publisher in North America (workers from Vodeo Games organized the first union in the industry late last year). The Communications Workers of America (CWA) worked with the ABetterABK workers alliance, the group that formed immediately following the toxic workplace lawsuit.

On Monday, Activision notified QA workers that it would be reorganizing. Instead of a dedicated QA department, it would be spreading them out among the different departments.

"This change will enhance the collaborative work our teams do to support our games and players and make the opportunities for our talented QA staff even stronger," a spokesperson told Polygon.

While Polygon reports that the embedded model is common at the company, the CWA claims it's an anti-union tactic.

"When Management uses meaningless buzzwords like 'alignment, 'synergy,' and 'reorganization,' they are sending a message to workers: 'we make all the decisions, we have all the power,'" the CWA tweeted today. "Whether it's covering up sexual harassment, employee surveillance, workplace abuse or violating workers rights, Activision Blizzard seems determined to take the low road." You can read the full statement in the thread below.

We've reached out to Activision Blizzard for comment and will update if we hear back.

Raven Software, known for its work on the Call of Duty series, is one of many companies that are a part of Microsoft's nearly $70 billion Activision Blizzard acquisition.

Update: Activision Blizzard won't recognize union

In a statement to Polygon, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson confirmed that the company won't be voluntarily recognizing the union, noting that while it "deeply" respects the rights of employees to unionize, it could not reach an agreement.

You can read the full statement below:

At Activision Blizzard, we deeply respect the rights of all employees to make their own decisions about whether or not to join a union. We carefully reviewed and considered the CWA initial request last week and tried to find a mutually acceptable solution with the CWA that would have led to an expedited election process. Unfortunately, the parties could not reach an agreement.We expect that the union will be moving forward with the filing of a petition to the NLRB for an election. If filed, the company will respond formally to that petition promptly. The most important thing to the company is that each eligible employee has the opportunity to have their voice heard and their individual vote counted, and we think all employees at Raven should have a say in this decision.Across the company, we believe that a direct relationship between managers and team members allows us to quickly respond and deliver the strongest results and opportunities for employees. As a result of these direct relationships, we've made a number of changes over the past couple years including raising minimum compensation for Raven QA employees by 41%, extending paid time off, expanding access to medical benefits for employees and their significant others, and transitioning more than 60% of temporary Raven QA staff into full-time employees. We look forward to continuing a direct dialogue with our team and working together to make our workplace better.

Carli Velocci
Gaming Lead, Copy Chief

Carli is the Gaming Editor and Copy Chief across Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore. Her last name also will remind you of a dinosaur. Follow her on Twitter or email her at