NLRB rules Raven Software QA staff can hold union vote next month

A decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that 21 Raven Software QA employees are eligible to vote in a union vote. This follows the formation of the Game Workers Alliance by Raven QA employees after a dozen QA employees were suddenly laid off on a Friday, leading to a strike and problems with other workers at parent company Activision Blizzard. The company did not voluntarily recognize the group’s formation of a union, resulting in workers petitioning the NLRB to secure a vote.

At the time, Activision Blizzard released a statement saying that should there be a union vote to give all Raven Software employees a vote, all Raven Software employees should have a vote. This statement was repeated at a hearing where the NLRB was to decide the outcome. Workers represented by the Game Workers Alliance claimed this was an attempt to dilute their potential vote, calling it a form of union busting.

Today’s decision means the NLRB has rejected that argument and there will be a union vote. Eligible are full-time and part-time QA contributors who worked during the pay period ending April 16. Ballots will be mailed out on April 29 and voters must return ballots by May 20 for a May 23 count. This counting takes place live via video conference.

Activision Blizzard released a statement to the Washington Post, where spokesman Rich George said: “While we respect the NLRB process, we are disappointed that a decision that could materially impact the future of our entire studio is being made by fewer than 10 percent of our employees. We believe that a direct relationship with team members is the best way to achieve individual and organizational goals.”

The NLRB’s decision noted that QA employees are Raven’s “lowest-paid employees” and that even if they were given a full-time position, the majority of them would only make about $38,430 a year, “significantly below the minimum salary of any other position”.

There will be more to come with this situation as things develop. Microsoft, which is awaiting approval to buy Activision Blizzard, said it will respect all employee unionization decisions. NLRB rules Raven Software QA staff can hold union vote next month

Fry Electronics Team

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