Blizzard Entertainment's Albany studio QA workers file for unionization
QA workers at a second studio under Activision Blizzard are starting the process of forming a union.
What you need to know
- Blizzard Albany, formerly Vicarious Visions, is one of several studios under Blizzard Entertainment.
- QA employees at Blizzard Albany are filing to unionize, following the example of a QA team at Raven Software, a studio under the Activision Publishing wing of Activision Blizzard.
- The workers are asking for better pay, improved benefits, for management to address workplace issues like harassment, and more.
The quality assurance (QA) workers of Blizzard Albany are filing for unionization, joining a growing movement for unions in the video game industry.
"QA is currently an undervalued discipline in the games and software industries. We strive to foster work environments where we are respected and compensated for our essential role in the development process," GWA Albany shared on Twitter. The organizing employees are asking for better benefits, improved pay, more transparent efforts from leadership when dealing with issues like harassment, and more.
Speaking with the Washington Post, Amanda Laven, associate test analyst at Blizzard Albany, stated that “I firmly believe that having the union is going to give us the power that we need to make our workplace better."
According to the Washington Post, Activision Blizzard has acknowledged the request for a union, though the publisher did not specify if it would be voluntarily recognizing the union.
Originally known as Vicarious Visions, Blizzard Albany was given its current name after being moved under Blizzard Entertainment and integrated into the Blizzard development pipeline. Blizzard Albany co-developed the Diablo 2: Resurrected remaster, and is currently co-developing the upcoming Diablo 4.
This move for unionization follows the example set by another team under Activision Blizzard, with Raven Software QA workers successfully filing for a union and holding an election earlier in 2022. This comes as Microsoft is currently in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard for almost $69 billion.
Microsoft has committed to a labor neutrality agreement with the Communication Workers of America, and promises not to interfere with any unionization efforts once the acquisition is finalized. The deal is currently slated to be complete at some point before June 30, 2023.
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Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.