NLRB Decision Leads to Historic Raven Software Guild Vote
Quality assurance staff at Raven Software, as a unit of 21, will vote on whether to join unions, the National Labor Relations Board decided Friday. The decision comes after Raven’s owner, Activision Blizzard, defied the organization’s efforts and sought to get the 230-person studio to vote on union.
The NLRB said all eligible Raven Software QA workers will be mailed on April 29, and votes will be counted on May 23. Should the vast majority of eligible workers vote yes, their union, called the Game Workers Alliance, would move to contract negotiations with Activision Blizzard.
Quality assurance workers at Activision Blizzard and Raven Software have been waiting for a decision from the NLRB since their February hearing. In testimony during that hearing, Raven Software’s management and staff were questioned about the studio’s restructuring, in January, as it applied to union-eligible workers.
An Activision Blizzard spokesperson told Polygon that the company will review its options regarding a potential appeal. The full statement is as follows:
While we respect the NLRB process, we are disappointed that a decision that could significantly affect the future of the entire studio would be made by less than 10% of our employees. We believe that direct relationship with team members is the best way to achieve corporate and individual goals. We are reviewing legal options regarding a potential appeal.
On social media, quality assurance workers at Raven Software expressed excitement about agreeing to the vote. The group thanked supporters in a Twitter message: “We are very proud to announce that the NLRB has determined that our unit is eligible for election,” the group wrote. “Thank you to everyone who has supported our campaign from the first strike until this moment! It’s time for democracy!”
We are very proud to announce that the NLRB has determined that our unit is eligible for election! Thank you to everyone who has supported our campaign since our first strike until this very moment! It’s time for democracy! # WeAreRaven #WeAreGWA
#WeAreGWA Game Workers Alliance (WeAreGWA) April 22 2022
Raven Software’s union push, in partnership with Communications Workers of America (CWA), began in January after an employee was laid off after a group of Raven Software contract workers were told they would not be among the 500 employees transferred to new full-time jobs. last year. An NLRB hearing regarding the syndicate’s scope began shortly after Activision Blizzard refused to voluntarily recognize the group.
Since then, Activision Blizzard has announced its intent to convert another 1,000 QA workers into full-time jobs, increase their salaries to $20 an hour, and allow QA employees access to bonuses and benefits. The same wage increases were not offered to workers at Raven Software QA at the time; Activision Blizzard claimed it was due to “legal obligations under the National Labor Relations Act”.
Quality assurance and contract workers in the video game industry are often categorized as an unskilled department. In August, Activision Blizzard QA workers told Polygon that quality assurance contracting cycles had created a system that made it difficult for workers to advance or feel stable in their careers, in addition to low wages and a severe job crisis. Thus, Friday’s win for Raven workers is a historic decision, with the potential to affect the video game industry as a whole.
Microsoft is preparing to acquire Activision Blizzard in a $68.7 billion deal that will be reviewed by government regulators. Activision CEO, Bobby Kotick, who faced Calls to resign from Activision Blizzard workers And the press (including this outlet), will continue to lead the company, at least until the Microsoft deal is finalized.