Activision Blizzard’s playbook has failed again. Despite delays, legal action and threats to workers that unionization would result in lower wage increases, developers of quality assurance at the level Diablo production studio Blizzard Albany voted 14-0 to unionize today. The Albany Workers’ Alliance Game are now the second group within Activision Blizzard to form a union, and the latest testament to a growing union movement within the wider gaming industry.
Among the 18 employees entitled to vote, 14 voted for with a disqualified vote and three others contested by the employer. Both parties have five days file any objections to today’s results. If neither objects, the group will be represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and begin the difficult negotiation process with Activision Blizzard on its first contract on issues such as compensation, overtime and benefits. health benefits.
“It took an incredible amount of hard work and persistence to push this fight forward,” Blizzard Associate Testing Analyst Amanda Deep said in a press release. “With this victory, we stand up for each other because we care deeply about our work and the games we create. Unionization has empowered us all to fight hard for the dignity and respect that every worker merit at work.
“We’re considering all options, focusing on what’s best for all employees and delivering the best games to our millions of gamers,” Activision spokesman Joe Christinat said. my city in a report. “We still believe that our entire Albany team should have the right to vote. It’s about fairness and fundamental rights for every member of the team.
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Friday’s vote was originally scheduled to take place last month, but was delayed after a massive blizzard rolled through Albany, New York, where the studio previously known as Indirect visions is based. But Activision Blizzard had also tried to completely overturn the union vote. He argued with the National Labor Relations Board that an earlier hearing had been corrupted by the use of union-busting Zoom avatars, and that the issue of unionization should be left to the entire studio rather than just the department. QA. The NLRB denied Call of Duty editor’s call earlier this week.
The vote also comes more than a month after Activision’s head of corporate communications, Lulu Cheng Meservey, tried to discourage employees to unionize in a Slack message that warned of how long it would take to negotiate a contract. “During the lengthy contract negotiation, labor law prohibits companies from granting raises/bonuses/benefits without a special agreement with the union, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that non-union employees typically get bigger pay raises than workers represented by union groups,” she wrote, apparently booed by staff in the form of a negative Slack emoji wall, but nonetheless continued to post it on Twitter.
Blizzard Albany QA’s successful organizing campaign follows similar efforts at sister studio Raven Softwareas well as elsewhere in the video game industry, including among contracts QA Staff at BioWare. The two groups are also in the process of negotiating their first contract. Raven Software QA, which unionized in May, recently accused Activision of nickel and dimming during contract negotiations and refusing to respond to many of its initial proposals.
Among the demands, the publisher would only accept bargaining sessions that would take place during the day if the union paid for the missed work time. This hostile posture comes despite the promises of the possible future owner Microsoft that it play well with all the developers who wanted to unionize.
Activision Blizzard did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Update 12/2/22 1:56 PM ET: Added statements from Game Workers Alliance Albany and Activision.
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