Twenty-one Raven Software QA employees have until May 20 to cast their votes in a historic video game industry union vote. Today, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decreed that voting for the union would begin and that the voting unit would be made up of those 21 employees, contrary to Activision Blizzard’s argument that the voting unit should be open to all. Raven employees.
In a statement to the edgeRich George, a spokesman for Activision Blizzard, said:
While we respect the NLRB process, we are disappointed that less than 10% of our employees make a decision that could have a significant impact on the future of our entire studio. We believe that a direct relationship with team members is the best way to achieve individual and company goals. We are reviewing legal options regarding a possible appeal.”
This is a defining moment for these quality control employees who started the road to unionization in December 2021. After a round of layoffs hit Activision Blizzard subsidiary studio, workers staged a strike which turned into a sustained strike with a duration of five weeks. At the end of the strike, the workers formally organized the Game Workers Alliancethe first syndicate in one of the largest game companies in North America.
Since then, Activision Blizzard has worked to undermine these unionization efforts. He dispersed Raven’s quality control employees into separate teams and argued that the voting drive for the pending union election should be open to all Raven employees, reducing the chances of success. Also Converted more than 1,000 temporary and contract QA employees to full-time employees and gave significant increases in pay — raises not extended to Raven QA employees.
“We are very proud to announce that the NLRB has ruled our unit eligible for election!” the Game Workers Alliance he said in a tweet. “Thank you to everyone who supported our campaign from our initial attack to this very moment! It’s time for democracy!”
We are very proud to announce that the NLRB has ruled our unit eligible for election! Thank you to everyone who supported our campaign from our initial attack to this very moment! Time for democracy! #SomosCuervo #SomosGWA
— Gaming Workers Alliance #WeAreGWA (@WeAreGWA) April 22, 2022
Once the ballots are mailed by the deadline, the NLRB will count the votes. A large majority of the voting unit must vote in favor of the union for it to be officially recognized and bargaining can begin.
Microsoft is ready to acquire Activision Blizzard in a deal worth nearly $70 billion, though that deal isn’t expected to close until Microsoft’s 2023 fiscal year, which begins in July. Activision Blizzard will report earnings on Monday, April 25, though I will not do it have a conference call or broadcast an earnings presentation.
Update April 22, 5:22 pm ET: Added Game Workers Alliance tweet.