Raven Testers End Strike Pending Union Recognition Amid 'Organizational Change'

Raven Software QA testers have ended their 7-week strike.
Raven Software QA testers have ended their 7-week strike. / Raven Software

Quality assurance testers at Raven Software have ended their 7-week strike pending management's decision to voluntarily recognize the union they formed last week — the first of its kind in the North American games industry.

The strike began when Call of Duty studio Raven Software suddenly announced that 20 quality assurance testers at the studio were laid off in December. Participating workers described the goals of the strike as securing improved working conditions for QA workers and restoring the jobs of the victims of the layoffs.

It's unclear if those goals have been achieved, but Raven QA testers recently voted to unionize, and are now awaiting voluntary recognition from management at the studio. We've reached out to the employee group that initially organized the strike for more details, and will update this story if it responds. For now, the group says unused strike funds will be stored for future organizing efforts.

Both the end of the strike and the unionization effort coincide with a reorganization reportedly taking place at Raven Software that would split up the newly organized QA workers into several different teams.

Raven studio head Brian Raffel emailed staff Monday describing how the QA team will now embed into several different teams.

"In November, we began the process to convert our temporary employees to FTE status," Raffel wrote to staff in an email obtained by Polygon. "Now, I’m excited to share that our QA colleagues will embed directly within various teams across the studio, including Animation, Art, Design, Audio, Production and Engineering."

"As we look ahead at the ongoing expansion of Call of Duty: Warzone, it’s more important than ever that we foster tighter integration and coordination across the studio - embedding will allow for this."

It's unclear how the new organizational scheme will affect unionization efforts. In theory, it should do little to affect the validity of the union, but it may make organizing efforts slightly more difficult as QA workers spend less time with one another.