Nearly three dozen Raven Software employees have agreed to form a union.
Announced in a press release, this union is called the Game Workers Alliance Union and is a part of the larger Communications Workers of America collective. This new union is asking Activision Blizzard, which will be acquired by Microsoft by the end of fiscal year 2023, to voluntarily recognize the union without hesitation.
“Today, I am proud to join with a supermajority of my fellow workers to build our union Game Workers Alliance (CWA),” Raven QA functional tester II, Becka Aigner, writes in a press release. “In the video game industry, specifically Raven QA, people are passionate about their jobs and the content they are creating. We want to make sure that the passion from these workers is accurately reflected in our workplace and the content we make. Our union is how our collective voices can be heard by leadership.”
Bloomberg reports that 34 quality assurance testers have agreed to form the union.
Activision Blizzard told Bloomberg that it is “carefully reviewing the request for voluntary recognition from the CWA, which seeks to organize around three dozen of the company’s nearly 10,000 employees.”
“While we believe that a direct relationship between the company and its team members delivers the strongest workforce opportunities, we deeply respect the rights of all employees under the law to make their own decisions about whether or not to join a union,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson told Bloomberg.
Bloomberg also reports that this union would be the first at a publicly traded video game publisher, and it’s also the first union within Activision Blizzard. This comes just over a month after the first ever video game union in North America was recognized at Vodeo Games, as reported by Polygon.
News of this union at Raven comes just over six weeks since the studio laid off several members of its QA team. Shortly after this, dozens of Raven employees went on strike. Activision Blizzard broke its silence on this strike a couple of weeks later, but it did not formally recognize the strike.
“Instead of collaborating with workers organizing to improve workplace conditions, Activision Blizzard has used surveillance and intimidation tactics, including hiring notorious union busters, to silence workers,” the press release from the union reads. “Still, members of Game Workers Alliance (CWA) are hopeful Activision Blizzard management will come to the table and formally recognize the union.”
“Our union will help inform what is best for Activision Blizzard as a company, as a platform for gamers and a workplace where all workers can thrive,” Raven QA functional tester II, Erin Hall, said. “The goal of the Game Workers Alliance (CWA) is to represent what we as workers in the industry want as well as set a new standard for workers across the industry moving forward.”
“Game Workers Alliance (CWA) will provide a structure so that workers can actively push for real changes at the company to ensure just working conditions, wages, benefits, and transparency on the job without fear of retaliation,” the press release reads.