Blizzard Albany QA Staff File to Unionise
Another Activision Blizzard appears to be looking to follow the lead of Call of Duty studio Raven Software, which in May decided to vote for unionization.
According to The Washington Post, workers at Blizzard, a New York-based studio previously known as Vicarious Visions, have chosen to file for a union election before the US National Labour Relations Board.
This is after the group asked Activision Blizzard for voluntary recognition of their union late last Wednesday. The publisher acknowledged the request but has not received a written decision.
Studio, formerly known as Vicarious Visions, joins the Unionization Effort
Amanda Laven, an associate tester at Blizzard, stated that the union would give her the power she needed to improve the workplace.
She also mentioned the Raven staff’s efforts to influence Blizzard’s decision. “Raven was a huge inspiration for us, watching their process; it has been demystifying to watch them do it first and have an idea about how things might turn out.” ”
Rich George, Activision Blizzard spokesperson, made a statement to The Washington Post to respond to the news. He wrote: “We deeply respect all employees’ rights under the law to decide whether or not they join a union.” And added: “The company will publicly and formally respond to the petition to NLRB.”
Blizzard Albany workers are looking to unionize and call themselves Game Workers Alliance Albany. They took to Twitter to explain their reasoning and say: “QA is currently an undervalued discipline within the games and the software industries.”
Game Workers Alliance Albany identifies the following critical outcomes as its goals: Increased compensation, better work-life balance, and resolution of workplace problems.
Activision Blizzard’s unionization efforts have taken place against a complex backdrop. The company, acquired in a $68.7 Billion deal by Microsoft in 2021 that saw a massive sexual harassment scandal at the company and a lawsuit in its wake, had already agreed to unionize.
The historic Raven vote, which appears to have established a precedent, also followed the strike action of Raven employees in December 2021. This later led to those workers being excluded from a pay- and status bump given by Activision Blizzard employees to other Activision Blizzard employees in what many saw to be an attempt by Activision Blizzard to stop the progress towards unionization by groups such as the GWA.
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