Activision Blizzard will enter into negotiations with Raven QA Union

Demonstrators hold signs in front of Activision Blizzard

picture: Activision Blizzard / Kotaku / Yevgenij_D (Shutterstock)

Bobby Kotic announced today Activision Blizzard recognizes Raven Software’s Association of Quality Assurance Testers. He promised that “we will enter into good faith negotiations to reach a collective bargaining agreement” with Communications Workers of America.

The letter was sent to all Activision Blizzard employees. It was mentioned that the company had raised wages (during deny them to the union organizers) and contract testers switched to full-time (a step that was also accompanied by major layoffs). The letter also emphasized that the publisher had begun to integrate QA into the development process, a step that was criticized by CWA as an attempt to separate union members. Activision Blizzard has not responded to a request for comment as of publication.

It’s hard to say how “good faith” these treaty negotiations will be. Before the QA testers at Raven Software won their historic union vote, the publisher had done everything possible to avoid this result. An exec sent a company-wide email on the “consequences” of unionization and a Labor Board “Merit” found in allegations that Activision Blizzard retaliated against employees for speaking out about their working conditions. The company also had forced a vote with the employment office instead of recognizing the union directly. The negotiation process can often be lengthy and contentious, so CWA still faces many challenges.

Activision Blizzard’s announcement came after Microsoft announced it would work with unions. CEO Phil Spencer emphasized that Xbox has done so currently have no relationship with the unionbut said he would recognize the union once the acquisition deal was finalized.

Jessica Gonzalez, an organizer for labor rights group A Better ABK, told the New York Times the “[the union vote] will be the spark that ignites the rest of the industry, I believe.” She was right. Earlier this week the contractors working on BioWare games decided unanimously to form a union. The Edmonton-based testers, exactlyy thanked “the brave workers across North America who are fighting for a better place to work.” Activision Blizzard will enter into negotiations with Raven QA Union

Curtis Crabtree

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