Workers at Activision Subsidiary Raven Software Form Labor Union

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Workers at Activision Subsidiary Raven Software Form Labor Union
Photo by Amr Taha™ on Unsplash
Workers at Activision Blizzard subsidiary Raven Software have formed a new labor union and are seeking voluntary recognition by the Santa Monica-based video game publisher, just days after it announced plans to sell itself to Microsoft for nearly $70 billion.

More than 30 employees at the Activision-owned game developer’s quality assurance testing department have formed the Game Workers Alliance, a union created under the nationwide Communications Workers of America labor guild. The effort is part of the CWA’s ongoing Campaign to Organize Digital Employees, which has sought to unionize Activison’s roughly 10,000 employees.

Wisconsin-based Raven Software—which was acquired by Activision in 1997 and works primarily on the hugely popular “Call of Duty” series—is the first business unit within Activision to form a labor union. The move comes one month after independent developer Vodeo Games voluntarily recognized a union formed by its workers, making it the first certified labor union at a North American video game studio.

The Game Workers Alliance, however, would be the first union at a major AAA game publisher. If Activision opts not to voluntarily recognize the union by later this month, the workers will move forward with a National Labor Relations Board-sponsored vote that would force recognition and give them the right to collectively bargain a labor contract.

In a statement, an Activision spokesperson said the company “is carefully reviewing the request for voluntary recognition from the CWA.”

“While we believe that a direct relationship between the company and its team members delivers the strongest workforce opportunities, we deeply respect the rights of all employees under the law to make their own decisions about whether or not to join a union,” the spokesperson said.

Raven Software employees have been on strike for five weeks after commencing a work stoppage on Dec. 6 to protest Activision’s decision to lay off a dozen quality assurance testers working on its first-person shooter titles. The work stoppage was Activision’s third in five months, with employees having also downed tools in protest of the company’s handling of workplace sexual misconduct allegations.

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