Twenty-one QA employees from Raven Software have until May 20 to submit their ballots in a historic video game industry union vote. Today, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decreed that elections for the union 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 opened to all Raven employees.
In a statement to The edgeActivision Blizzard spokesman Rich George said:
While we respect the NLRB process, we are disappointed that a decision that could have a significant impact on the future of our entire studio is being made by less than 10% of our employees. We believe that a direct relationship with team members is the best way to achieve individual and organizational goals. We are examining legal options regarding a possible appeal.”
This is a turning point for these QA staff who started the road to unionization again in December 2021. After a round of layoffs hit Activision Blizzard subsidiary studio, workers staged a strike this turned into a sustained strike take five weeks. At the end of the strike workers formally organized the Game Workers Alliancethe first union in one of North America’s largest gaming companies.
Since then, Activision Blizzard has worked to undermine these union efforts. His Raven QA staff were split into separate teams, arguing that the voting unit for the upcoming union elections should be open to all Raven employees, reducing the chances of success. It also Over 1000 contract and contract QA staff transitioned to full-time and gave significant raises — Salary increases not extended to Raven QA employees.
“We are so proud to announce that the NLRB has decided that our unit is eligible!” the Game Workers Alliance said in a tweet. “Thank you to everyone who has supported our campaign from our first strike to this moment! Time for democracy!”
We are so proud to announce that the NLRB has ruled that our unit is electable! Thank you to everyone who has supported our campaign from our first strike to this moment! Time for democracy! #WeareRaven #WeAreGWA
— Game Workers Alliance #WeAreGWA (@WeAreGWA) April 22, 2022
Once the ballots are submitted by the deadline, the NLRB counts the votes. A large majority of voters must vote for the union in order for it to be officially recognized and negotiations to begin.
Microsoft wants to take over Activision Blizzard in a deal worth nearly $70 billion, although that deal isn’t expected to close before Microsoft’s fiscal 2023, which begins in July. However, Activision Blizzard will report the results on Monday, April 25th will not hold a conference call or make a presentation of results.
Update April 22, 5:22 p.m. ET: Added Game Workers Alliance tweet.
https://www.theverge.com/2022/4/22/23037874/raven-software-qa-employees-union-election-activision-blizzard-nlrb 21 Raven Software QA employees allowed to hold a union election