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Activision Takes First Steps in Suppressing Raven Software Union

Activision Blizzard will not voluntarily recognize the burgeoning Game Workers Alliance union.
Activision Blizzard will not voluntarily recognize the burgeoning Game Workers Alliance union. / Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard opted not to voluntarily recognize the union being formed by quality assurance testers at its Raven Software studio, forcing organizers to turn to the National Labor Relations Board for a union vote.

"We, the supermajority of workers at Raven QA, are proud to be confidently filing our petition with the NLRB for our union election," the union, called the Game Workers Alliance, tweeted Tuesday night.

"We are deeply disappointed that Raven Software and Activision Blizzard refused to uplift workers rights by choosing to not voluntarily recognize our union in spite of our supermajority support."

According to Activision Blizzard, the union recognition request made last week by the GWA in conjunction with the Communication Workers of America was unsatisfactory.

"We carefully reviewed and considered the CWA initial request last week and tried to find a mutually acceptable solution with the CWA that would have led to an expedited election process,” Activision Blizzard said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the parties could not reach an agreement.”

Activision Blizzard is now pushing for all Raven Software employees to take part in the unionization vote.

"The most important thing to the company is that each eligible employee has the opportunity to have their voice heard and their individual vote counted, and we think all employees at Raven should have a say in this decision," reads the statement.

Organizers see this as an attempt to dilute support for the union, undermining its chances of becoming formally recognized. Although Raven QA testers support the union by a supermajority, the larger studio includes dozens more employees that may feel differently about unionization.

Activision Blizzard is putting all its chips on the larger studio shooting down the QA team's union ambitions — or at least on its ability to run a successful anti-union campaign with the time it buys delaying the vote.

The NLRB has not yet determined which employees will take part in the unionization vote.

Raven Software has also announced a restructuring of the studio that would break QA up and embed certain members in different teams, potentially undermining testers' ability to organize effectively.

Despite these setbacks, GWA tweeted it was "proud to file with the NLRB as we enjoy supermajority support for our union and know that together, we will gain the formal legal recognition we have earned."