The Game Workers Union, a coalition of Raven Software quality assurance personnel, has successfully voted to be officially recognized by Activision Blizzard. That makes them only the second official alliance in the North American video game industry, after Unified Vodeo Game in December 2021 and the first in a major US game publisher.
According to Washington Post, the Milwaukee branch of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) counted mail-in ballots submitted by eligible Raven employees. Out of 22 votes, 19 voted Yes, and 3 voted No. The parties have the right to file an objection until May 31. If no one has done so, the result will become official.
This story begins last December following the ongoing Activision Blizzard sexual misconduct scandal. Surprise publisher lay off 12 contracted Raven QA workers, about a third of the division, which includes employees who recently moved into the Wisconsin-based office. Outraged Raven Workers staged a the strike lasted for weeks that’s over when it’s over 30 employees established GWA.
The GWA asked Activision Blizzard to voluntarily recognize it by January 25 of this year, but The publisher refused, saying that the two sides could not reach an agreement. Instead, Activision Blizzard responded by convert all US-based contract QA testers into full-time employees eligible for benefits and salary increase. However, Raven workers, having converted their contract workers to full-time status, are not eligible for pay benefits under Activision due to “Legal Obligations Under the National Labor Relations Board” This resulted in the GWA seeking a vote on the NLRB’s favorable ruling. Activision has challenged this process unsuccessfully by trying to make it so that Raven’s entire 230-person team would have to vote instead of the 21 QA employees affected.
Consolidation negotiations have increased over the past year as a result of the Activision Blizzard lawsuits, with more Designers encourage studios to organize. Activision is being acquired by Microsoft for $69 billion. Xbox Producer announced in March that it will respect either outcome of today’s vote.