Activision Blizzard under fire over anti-union threats.
Raven Software logo

Quality assurance employees at Raven Software just voted in favor of unionization with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The final vote ended up being 19 for joining with three against.

The vote count was announced today during a new webcast meeting. Out of 28 employees that were eligible to vote, 24 votes were submitted. Two votes were challenged and were deemed invalid. Of the remaining eligible votes, the group agreed to legally form the Game Workers Alliance. This makes it the first video game union at a AAA gaming company in North America.

Members of the newly formed Game Workers Alliance are now able to bargain with Activision Blizzard over their employment contracts. It is unlikely that Activision Blizzard will make this process easy, however. The company has been actively trying to discourage Raven Software from voting in favor of unionizing. Activision Blizzard has held group town hall style meetings discouraging unionization as well as sending out several emails.

The National Labor Relations Board is already readying an official complaint against Activision Blizzard. The NLRB says that what Activision Blizzard did and attempted to do was illegal union busting.

Raven's QA department has been working on unionizing since at least December 2021. The wheels were set in motion shortly after Activision Blizzard laid off around a dozen QA contractors during a "restructuring." This resulted in the remaining employees walking out in protest over the layoffs. This strike went on for several weeks. Around the same time that Raven Software QA employees went on strike, employees from other departments also went on strike against Activision Blizzard.

In late January, a group of Raven QA employees said that they were unionizing with the Communication Workers of America (CWA). Activision Blizzard immediately split up almost two dozen of its QA testers into other Activision Blizzard departments. The CWA says that this was done in an effort to reduce the unionization efforts. Activision Blizzard also converted over 1,000 contractors into full-time employees but made did not include any employees that were attempting to unionize in this move. Activision Blizzard also said at the time that they will not voluntarily recognize the union.

The Game Workers Alliance issued a brief statement on today's news.

Our biggest hope is that our union serves as inspiration for the growing movement of workers organizing at video game studios to create better games and build workplaces that reflect our values and empower all of us. We look forward to working with management to positively shape our working conditions and the future of Activision Blizzard through a strong union contract.