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CoD Devs Vote to Form America’s First Syndicate at Major Game Company

A group of QA testers from Call of Duty developer Raven Software voted to create one of the first video game unions in the United States, and the first at a major studio in the country.

22 Raven Software employees voted and the motion passed 19-3. The group, known as the Game Workers Alliance, can now move forward with contract negotiations with Activision Blizzard management. It’s not immediately clear what specific terms the group is looking for.

Game Workers Alliance said in a statement to the edge“Our greatest hope is that our union will inspire the growing movement of workers organizing at video game studios to create better games and build workplaces that reflect our values ​​and empower 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.”

In December 2021, Raven’s quality control workers went on strike. Subsequently, some quality control evaluators were moved to “embedded” jobs within other Raven departments. Labor expert Tom Smith said Polygon that this was “nothing more than a ploy” to try to prevent Raven’s QA staff from organizing.

Activision Blizzard later announced that it would convert 1,100 temporary workers across the company to full-time workers and raise pay to at least $20 an hour with eligibility for bonuses and benefits.

An Activision Blizzard spokesperson told GameSpot, “We respect and believe in the right of all employees to decide whether to support or vote for a union. We believe this is an important decision that will affect the entire Raven Software studio of approximately 350 people.” . should not be done by 19 Raven employees.”

In December 2021, the workers of the small North American studio Vodeo Games formed a union. Contract staff workers at BioWare are now also setting the stage to form a union. A Nintendo of America worker is taking action against the company and has filed a claim with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the Mario maker of firing them for trying to form a union.

With a broader look at the job market, workers at Starbucks and Amazon are also in the process of looking to form worker unions right now.

Jessica Gonzalez, a former Activision Blizzard QA staffer who founded the activist group ABetterABK, said The New York Times that Raven QA’s staff vote to unionize would be “the spark that ignites the rest of the industry, I think” when it comes to collective bargaining.

US Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin welcomed the news and congratulated the workers at Raven, based in Madison, Wisconsin.

Activision Blizzard is in the process of being acquired by Microsoft, but it remains to be seen how that proposed merger could affect Raven’s potential merger.

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