Activision Blizzard worker group votes to unify in NLRB election – The Hollywood Reporter

The first group of workers in video game giant Activision Blizzard to officially attempt unionization won the National Labor Relations Board election.

Nineteen Quality Assurance (QA) testers at Activision Blizzard subsidiary Raven Software, based in Wisconsin, voted in favor of the union in a Monday vote, while three members vote against unions. The Desired Negotiator, supported by Communications Workers of America (CWA), consists of approximately 21 QA testers based at Raven’s Middleton, Wisconsin studio. (Two ballots were challenged during the counting process.) The Hollywood Reporter observed the vote count via a Zoom feed as it was checked at an NLRB sub-regional office in Milwaukee.

The Raven Software workers group, known as the Game Workers Union, said in a collective statement on Monday that “Now that we’ve won the election, it’s our duty to protect those values.” the foundation on which our union stands.” The group added, “Our greatest hope is that our union serves as an inspiration to the growing movement of workers organizing at video game studios to create games. Play better and build a workplace that reflects our values ​​and empowers us all. We look forward to working with management to positively shape our working conditions and the future of Activision Blizzard through a strong union contract. ”

A spokesperson for Activision Blizzard said of Monday’s vote, “We respect and believe in the right of all employees to decide whether to support or vote for a union. We believe that an important decision that will affect the entire Raven Software studio with approximately 350 people will not be made by 19 Raven employees.”

Raven Software’s NLRB vote represents an important test of whether the original fusion movement in video games can make its way into an AAA video game studio. Prior to Raven’s vote, an alliance had been successfully certified at indie video game studio Vodeo Games (producers of Beast Breaker), while tablet role-playing game maker Paizo also voluntarily recognized a workers union. Overall, however, the gaming industry remains unconnected. CWA launched its Campaign for Digital Employees Organization (CODE) in 2020 in part to make strides in the industry and represent both Vodeo Games and Paizo worker groups. IATSE is also trying to organize the industry with the Rights & Protections for Gamers (RPG) campaign.

Ahead of the NLRB vote, Activision Blizzard raised a number of potential roadblocks to an election, initially calling for the proposed bargaining unit to include more than 90 additional job titles (a move that could potentially include more than 90 additional job titles). reduce support for unions). Activision Blizzard also sought to dismiss the election as it noted that “the nature of the Employer’s operations has fundamentally changed at the facility in question.” (Days after Raven Software workers went public with their consolidation effort, the company announced that it is converting all US-based temporary and contingent workers into employees. full-time.) On April 22, an NLRB regional director authorized an election after ruling that the CWA’s bargaining unit was appropriate and recent changes to staff members. Activision Blizzard’s QA staff did not rule out the election.

The Raven Software team will now embark on their first studio contract negotiations at a time of organizational change at the parent company. In January, Microsoft announced that it was acquiring Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, a deal that, if closed, would make Microsoft the third-largest video game company in the world.

In March, Raven Software QA tester Onah Rongstad told CHEAP that despite a lot of “uncertainty” about the deal, “the consolidation effort will be the same regardless of which company is in charge at the end of the day.”

Also on Monday, the NLRB announced that an LA-based regional director was credited with an unfair labor practice allegation in 2021 filed by the CWA against Activision Blizzard, which found the employer enforced an “exaggerated” social media policy, and Blizzard Entertainment “violated the [National Labor Relations] Act by threatening employees in the exercise of Section 7 rights; enforce its social media policies; and threaten or discipline employees for their protected coordinated activities. “Although most unfair labor practices are believed to have an amicable basis for settlement, if no resolution is reached, the NLRB region is likely to file a complaint.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Activision Blizzard called the allegations “false” and added, “Employees can and are comfortable talking about workplace issues without retaliation and policy communications Our society explicitly incorporates employee NLRA rights.” The social media policy says it “does not restrict employees from engaging in the transmission of information that is protected by law, including employees’ rights in the United States protected by the National Labor Relations Act.” ,” added the spokesman.

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