Raven Software QA workers who have been on strike since early December are joining the union.With the support of Communications Workers of America and the ABK Workers Union, employees announced the launch of Union of Game Workers, “A movement formed and maintained by interdisciplinary game industry employees, largely stemming from a labor rights strike by Raven Software QA employees.”
“We at Raven Quality Assurance today announced the formation of our union, the Game Workers Union, and are asking for official voluntary recognition to join CODE-CWA/Communications Workers of America,” the union said in a message to Activision Blizzard Management, posted on gameworkersalliance.com“As leadership continues to reaffirm its investment in the best interests of the workforce, we now have an opportunity to demonstrate this by voluntarily recognizing the unions formed by these workers.
“Having invested the vast majority of Raven Quality Assurance in our organisational work, we have found that it is in our own best interest to advance unionisation. It is clear that fairness will never be achieved without collective bargaining power. vacancies while explicitly relinquishing important recommendations from Raven’s division leadership.”
We are proud to join CWA! https://t.co/ZoJH2qBHNq pic.twitter.com/hKGFhyhLusJanuary 21, 2022
The CWA made a similar call for management to recognise the union.
“We ask Activision Blizzard management to respect the Raven QA staff by voluntarily acknowledging CWA’s representatives without hesitation,” Sara Steffens, secretary and treasurer of the Communications Workers Association of America, said in a statement to polygon. “Collective Bargaining Agreements will give Raven QA employees a voice at work, improve the games they make and make the company stronger. Voluntary recognition is the logical way forward.”
We’re proud to support and welcome @WeAreGWA – joining forces with @CWAUnion to demand change from @RavenSoftware and the entire game development industry. This is just the beginning. #Solidarity #WeAreGWA #GWAUnion https://t.co/L82XKL3fGuJanuary 21, 2022
The Gaming Workers Union won’t be the first video game union in North America: That distinction belongs to workers at indie studio Vodeo, who unionized in December 2021. But it will be the first for a company the size of Activision Blizzard.
as Washington post Activision Blizzard reportedly didn’t have to recognize unions itself: an overwhelming majority of employees voted for unionization, meaning it could be formally established through the National Labor Relations Board even without management approval. Activision Blizzard’s leadership has previously discouraged unions, but has also said it supports the right of employees to unionize under the National Labor Relations Act (well, it has to). The company’s imminent acquisition by Microsoft could open the door to a conciliatory approach, although a statement sent by Activision Blizzard to PC Gamer today downplayed the importance of unions and reiterated the company’s preference.
“Activision Blizzard is carefully reviewing CWA’s voluntary endorsement request, which is intended to organize approximately three dozen of the company’s nearly 10,000 employees,” a company representative said. “While we believe that a direct relationship between a company and its team members provides the strongest possible workforce opportunity, we deeply respect the legal right of all employees to unionize at their own discretion.
“At Activision Blizzard, we’ve always focused on listening closely to our employees and delivering the higher pay, benefits, and career opportunities needed to attract and retain the world’s best talent. Over the past few years, this has included improving Raven QA has reduced minimum wage staff by 41%, extended paid leave, expanded access to medical benefits for employees and other essential personnel, and converted more than 60% of temporary Raven QA staff to full-time staff.”
We are very excited for our @WeAreGWA allies. It took months of careful planning and careful work to get to where we are today, but we wouldn’t be able to do it without each other. Thank you to everyone who has publicly supported us and continued to follow us.we’re not doneJanuary 21, 2022
The Raven strike began on December 6, when members of the studio’s quality assurance team resigned in protest at Actvision Blizzard’s decision not to renew the contracts of 12 QA employees. Workers announced a formal strike a few days later and have been laid off since, but so far, Activision Blizzard has shown no signs of wavering in its demands. The ABK workers’ union said earlier this month that the striking workers had not received any form of formal recognition from top management.
The Game Workers Coalition has given Activision Blizzard until January 25 to respond to its endorsement request, saying it will submit an election application to the NLRB if it doesn’t.