Raven Software QA unit votes to become first union under a North American publisher [update]
Workers at an Activision-Blizzard owned studio are successful in their pursuit of a union.
What you need to know
- A unit of quality assurance testers at Activision-owned Raven Software have succeeded in voting for a union.
- Activision Blizzard has been embroiled in legal woes over the last several months, including a lawsuit alleging the company allowed sexist workplace practices to go unpunished.
- The National Labor Relations Board has found Activision Blizzard guilty of illegally threatening staff and and putting social media policies in place that conflict with workers' rights.
Update, 3:42 p.m. ET:
Quality assurance (QA) workers at Raven Software — one of many game development studios under Activision Blizzard — have successfully voted for a union. The union will be the first under a major North American gaming publisher.
The vote passed with a total of 24 votes being cast. 19 were in favor of the union, two opposed, and two votes were challenged. The success of the vote garnered celebration from the newly-official Game Workers Alliance.
Happy union day! We won! pic.twitter.com/nzJ4A3J3RBMay 23, 2022
🥳 @WeAreGWA just won their union and we are so excited!May 23, 2022
In a comment to Windows Central, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said that “We respect and believe in the right of all employees to decide whether or not to support or vote for a union. We believe that an important decision that will impact the entire Raven Software studio of roughly 350 people should not be made by 19 Raven employees.
Activision Blizzard's legal troubles continue to mount, with a new development confirming that workers have had their rights impeded.
As shared by Bloomberg (opens in new tab), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found Activision Blizzard guilty of threatening its workers. Additionally, the company put a social media policy in place that conflicted with workers' rights, though Bloomberg didn't share details on the nature of the policy.
If the company does not agree to settle, then the NLRB will issue a complaint. Activision Blizzard has faced legal issues since July 2021, when a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard alleged that the company has allowed sexist workplace practices, abuse, and more to go unpunished.
Activision Blizzard is currently in the process of being acquired by Microsoft, in a deal worth almost $69 billion. The deal is currently undergoing regulatory review and is slated to finalize sometime in Microsoft's fiscal year ending June 30, 2023. According to Microsoft president Brad Smith, the deal is moving fast, adding that the lawyers estimate the deal is now in the middle of being completed, instead of the beginning of the process.
If it goes through, Activision Blizzard will sit alongside Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda Softworks as Xbox first-party publishers.
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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.