Activision Blizzard took revenge on the union workers

The American National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found that Activision Blizzard unlawfully retaliated against the unionization of quality inspectors of Raven Software, part of the company group – writes the New York Times The quality assurance (QA) department, which works on Call of Duty games, among others, announced in January that it was establishing an advocacy group. Activision Blizzard tried to put obstacles in front of the organization, trying to invalidate it on the grounds, among other things, that the union only consists of the 28-person quality assurance department, while Raven Software employs approximately 230 employees.

The vote, conducted through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is responsible for enforcing labor laws, ended with 19 yes votes and 3 no votes, two votes were challenged, and 24 out of 28 workers voted. The Game Workers Alliance (GWA) is represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and is the first union to form within a dominant, major American game company.

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During the formation of GWA, Activision Blizzard hired about 1,100 quality assurance contractors as full-time employees and raised their minimum wage to $20 an hour – leaving out only Raven Software workers, who are among the lowest paid group at the studio.

Activision Blizzard claims the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) prevented it from changing employee pay amid unionization proceedings. According to the Communication Workers of America, it was an oppressive attempt to destroy the union.

The NLRB has now officially ruled in favor of the union and declared that Activision Blizzard illegally withheld the wage increase, further negotiations between the parties are expected in the future.

The workers announced last December that they wanted to establish an interest representation, a few days after rumors began to circulate about the $68.7 billion Microsoft – Activison Blizzard acquisition, which could be one of the biggest tech acquisitions to date (if it goes through all the authorities). In response to the news of the pending acquisition and several sudden layoffs, QA testers working on, among others, Call of Duty games, began a weeks-long strike, voicing their opposition to the sudden layoffs of 12 of their contractors.

Earlier, in a more extensive article, we wrote about how, due to inflation and the pandemic, attempts at self-organization among the employees of large tech companies gained strength. The creation of unions was not typical in the tech industry from the beginning, it did not fit with the culture of large and successful companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook and IBM.


Source: HWSW Informatikai Hírmagazin by www.hwsw.hu.

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