Quality assurance workers at Raven Software, an Activision Blizzard subsidiary, are unionizing with the Communication Workers of America (CWA). The group called Game Workers Alliance is the first group of workers to form an entity under Activision Blizzard. Workers are urging the company to voluntarily recognize the union, which has the support of Raven Software’s “supermajority” of QA workers — 78% of eligible workers, a CWA representative told Polygon.
The unit consists of 34 members.
Some Raven Software QA staff have been on strike since early December after Activision Blizzard refused new contracts for 12 QA team members. The strike of “several dozen workers” according to the Washington Post, has no end date, and management has yet to respond to workers’ demands.
“Today, I am proud to join a large majority of my colleagues in building our Game Workers Alliance (CWA) union,” Raven Software QA Tester Becka Aigner said in a press release. “In the video game industry, particularly at Raven QA, people are passionate about their work and the content they create. We want to ensure that the passion of these employees is accurately reflected in our workplace and the content we create. Through our union, our collective voices can be heard by leadership.”
According to the CWA, Activision Blizzard has not worked with employee organizations. Instead, “surveillance and intimidation tactics, including the hiring of notorious union fighters, are being used to silence workers.”
“We ask that Activision Blizzard management respect Raven’s QA staff by voluntarily and without hesitation acknowledging CWA’s representation,” Sara Steffens, secretary and treasurer of Communications Workers of America, said in a statement. “A collective bargaining agreement will give Raven QA employees a voice at work, improve the games they produce and strengthen the company. Voluntary recognition is the sensible way.”
On Tuesday, Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard — including Raven Software. When the $68.7 billion deal closes in 2023, Activision Blizzard employees will report to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer. Until the deal is approved, however, Bobby Kotick will remain Activision Blizzard’s CEO, despite workers demanding his resignation amid multiple lawsuits and federal investigations into the company’s workplace culture.
Activision Blizzard did not respond to Polygon’s request for comment.