Last week, an official vote was cast in favor of union within Activision Blizzard. This came after the creation of the Game Workers Alliance back in January after a strike for Raven Software QA workers being denied new contracts. In a recent internal all-hands meeting, Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox said that he will recognize the new union. Currently, Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is being investigated by the FTC; “But when the deal closes, we will absolutely recognize [the union],” Spencer said.
When Game Workers Alliance was formed and the process was underway for an official union to form under Activision Blizzard, a company spokesperson said at that time “Microsoft will not stand in the way if Activision Blizzard recognizes a union. Microsoft respects Activision Blizzard employees’ right to choose whether to be represented by a labor organization and we will honor those decisions.”
Last year, Phil Spencer said that he didn’t have much experience with unions. Since then, however, he has addressed that issue. “Linda Norman and I have been spending a lot of time educating myself on unions,” Spencer said. “We absolutely support employees’ right to organize and form unions.”
When the union was formed last week, Activision Blizzard said “We respect and believe in the right of all employees to decide whether or not to support or vote for a union. We believe that an important decision that will impact the entire Raven Software studio of roughly 350 people should not be made by 19 Raven employees.”
“Once the deal closes, we would absolutely support [an] employees’ organization that’s in place,” Spencer said. “We think it is a right of employees and something that can be a part of a relationship between a company and people who work at the company.”
The union at Activision Blizzard is the second ever in the video game industry and the first at a major AAA company. The first union was formed at Vodeo Games.