As the strike regarding Raven Sofware QA workers being denied new contracts continues, some workers have announced that they are unionizing with the Communication Workers of America. The newly formed union, called the Game Workers Alliance, is the first group of workers to form a unit under Activision Blizzard. They are asking Activision Blizzard to voluntarily recognize the union. The union has the support of the “supermajority” of Raven Software QA workers which is 78% of the eligible workers.
We are proud to join CWA! https://t.co/ZoJH2qBHNq pic.twitter.com/hKGFhyhLus
— Game Workers Alliance 💙#WeAreGWA (@WeAreGWA) January 21, 2022
This launch comes as the strike by Raven QA workers enters week 5. Beginning on December 6, over 60 Raven Software workers walked out in protest following Activision Blizzard laying off 12 of the studio’s QA testers. It’s the third work stoppage following Activision Blizzard getting sued over allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct.
The CWA says that Activision Blizzard has not cooperated with worker-organizers. According to the CWA, Activision Blizzard “used surveillance and intimidation tactics, including hiring notorious union busters, to silence workers.” “We ask that Activision Blizzard management respect Raven QA workers by voluntarily recognizing CWA’s representation without hesitation,” Communications Workers of America secretary-treasurer Sara Steffens said in a statement. “A collective bargaining agreement will give Raven QA employees a voice at work, improving the games they produce and making the company stronger. Voluntary recognition is the rational way forward.”
“Today, I am proud to join with a supermajority of my fellow workers to build our union, Game Workers Alliance (CWA),” Raven Software QA tester Becka Aigner said in a news 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.”
Brent Reel, QA Lead at Raven said “We formed the Game Workers Alliance (CWA) because my colleagues and I want to have our voices heard and we want to see changes that reflect the wants and needs of both the gaming community and the workers who create these incredible products. It’s extremely important that workers have a real seat at the table to positively shape the company going forward.”
” 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. 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,” said Erin Hall, QA functional tester II at Raven.
Activision Blizzard has since released a statement following the announcement of the formation of the Game Workers Alliance. Regarding their request for voluntary recognition, the company said the following:
Activision Blizzard 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.
Across Activision Blizzard, we remain focused on listening closely to our employees and providing the improved pay, benefits and professional opportunities needed to attract and retain the world’s best talent. Over the past couple of years, this has included raising minimum compensation for Raven QA employees by 41%, extending paid time off, expanding access to medical benefits for employees and significant others, and transitioning more than 60% of temporary Raven QA staff into full-time employees.