Image via Raven Software

Activision Blizzard will not recognize Raven Software QA union, workers plan to move forward with union election

The workers will petition the NLRB for a union election.

Activision Blizzard announced on Tuesday that it would not voluntarily recognize a union comprised of quality assurance testers at Raven Software known as the Game Workers Alliance (GWA). In a statement, the company claimed that it attempted to “find a mutually acceptable solution with the [Communications Workers of America],” but failed to do so.

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Axios reporter Stephen Totilo shared a copy of the statement on Twitter for public viewing.

The company stated it expects the union to petition the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to set up a union election. According to NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo, unions formed through this manner require support from over 50% of workers attempting to unionize. If the GWA were to win the vote, Activision Blizzard would be required to “bargain in good faith over working conditions” with the union.

One interesting tidbit found in the statement was Activision Blizzard’s suggestion that all employees at Raven Studios — not just QA workers — take part in the expected union election. This has been interpreted by some as an attempt to widen the composition of the bargaining unit, which could, in turn, potentially dilute the chances of a vote in the union’s favor.

This suggestion comes one day after Activision Blizzard announced that Raven Software QA workers would be embedded into various departments across the studio, which several game industry professionals viewed as an attempt to inhibit unionization efforts.

In response, the GWA issued a statement in which it committed to “confidently filing” a petition with the NLRB for a union election. The group also condemned the company’s aforementioned plan to restructure its QA department. “This was an opportunity for Activision Blizzard to show a real commitment [to its] workers,” said the GWA. “Instead, Activision Blizzard has chosen to make a rushed restructuring announcement to try and hinder our right to organize.”

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Jon Yelenic
Jon is a freelance writer whose work can be seen on Gamepur, SmashPad, and Goomba Stomp. He has also written for Game Rant. You can find him on Twitter @JonWYel