A potential attempt to undermine union efforts.

Activision Blizzard To Reorganise Raven Software, Doesn’t Recognise Union

In the midst of Raven Software union efforts, Activision Blizzard is reorganising QA workers to embed them more directly in the studio.

Last week, Raven Software announced that QA workers are intending to unionise. Activision Blizzard has now responded in two ways. One being to reorganise Raven Software and how QA is incorporated.

“In November, we began the process to convert our temporary employees to [full-time employment] status,” wrote Raven Software studio head Brian Raffel in an email to staff (thanks, 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.”

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raven software warzone
Credit: Raven Software

The email also apparently says that the move to embed QA into the studio more directly has been in the works for “several months.” Though Communication Workers of America organising director Tom Smith told Polygon that this is “nothing more than a tactic to thwart Raven QA workers who are exercising their right to organize.”

Smith noted that words like ‘alignment’, ‘synergy,’ and ‘reorganisation,’ are used to send a message to workers that the corporation is the one with the power. 

what about the union?

The other response to Raven Software’s union efforts is a more direct one. As Activision Blizzard has decided to not voluntarily recognise the union. In a statement provided to Polygon, Activision Blizzard said:

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“At Activision Blizzard, we deeply respect the rights of all employees to make their own decisions about whether or not to join a union. 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. Unfortunately, the parties could not reach an agreement. 

We expect that the union will be moving forward with the filing of a petition to the NLRB for an election. If filed, the company will respond formally to that petition promptly. 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. 

Across the company, we believe that a direct relationship between managers and team members allows us to quickly respond and deliver the strongest results and opportunities for employees. As a result of these direct relationships, we’ve made a number of changes over the past couple years including raising minimum compensation for Raven QA employees by 41%, extending paid time off, expanding access to medical benefits for employees and their significant others, and transitioning more than 60% of temporary Raven QA staff into full-time employees. We look forward to continuing a direct dialogue with our team and working together to make our workplace better.” 

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is more action to come?

The final paragraph is a significant one, and is a clear attempt at dissuading any potential union efforts. Companies often highlight all the benefits they provide to employees to suggest that they don’t need to unionise. But Activision Blizzard haven’t even responded to the firings that took place last year at Raven Software. Which were the cause of the strikes and organising in the first place. 

Activision Blizzard has not issued a statement on how their actions may affect union efforts.

Featured Image Credit: Raven Software

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