Employees of Activision studio Raven Software formally unionize
After a five-week strike, the QA testers at Raven Software, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, have formed one of the first unions in a AAA game publisher. The union, known as the Game Workers Alliance, was founded in collaboration with the Communications Officers of America (CWA), a trade union representing telecommunications and digital media workers.
In December, 12 QA employees were fired, leading to a strike at the Duty support studio. Since then, some members of the QA department carried out an ongoing strike at Raven Software, leading to the creation of a GoFundMe to support the striking members.
“We formed the Game Workers Alliance (CWA) because my colleagues and I want to make our voices heard,” said Brent Reel, a QA lead at Raven, in a CWA press release. The union is asking for formal acknowledgment from parent company Activision Blizzard, which in recent SEC filings related to Microsoft’s impending acquisition of the company, Not recognised that a strike was underway.
Activision Blizzard has also been involved in alleged union-breaking activities, with executives begging workers to “consider the consequences” of signing union authorization cards. Elsewhere in Activision Blizzard, Duty developer Treyarch recently all contract employees converted to full-time positions, which raised questions as to why Raven Software couldn’t do the same. The union’s formation comes a week before the formal termination of the laid-off workers was scheduled to take place on January 28.
Rich George, senior director of game communications at Activision Blizzard, said: The edge in an email:
“Activision Blizzard is carefully studying the request for voluntary recognition from the CWA, which aims to host about three dozen of the company’s nearly 10,000 employees. While we believe that a direct relationship between the company and its team members provides the best employment opportunities, we strongly respect the rights of all employees under the law to make their own decisions about joining or not joining a union.”
A better ABK, an advocacy group of Activision Blizzard employees, tweeted“We are so incredibly excited about our allies at @WeAreGWA. It took months of meticulous planning and careful work to get to where we are today, but we couldn’t have done it without each other. Thank you to everyone who has supported us publicly and stay tuned. We’re not done yet.”