According to a recent report, if Activision Blizzard recognises a union, Microsoft “will not stand in the way.“
Earlier this year, the QA team at Call of Duty: Warzone developer Raven Software announced its intention to form a union. This followed a strike from the team due to the firing of a dozen QA members of staff. In response, Activision Blizzard reorganised Raven Software, and did not recognise the union. While the union is not recognised, it is the first video game industry union at a major North America studio.
Microsoft’s corporate vice president and general counsel Lisa Tanzi provided a statement to The Washington Post regarding the potential union. “Microsoft respects Activision Blizzard employees’ right to choose whether to be represented by a labor organization and we will honor those decisions,” Tanzi said. The corporate vice president specified that Microsoft “will not stand in the way,” should Activision Blizzard recognise a one.
what’s happening at raven software?
Currently, the union at Raven Software only covers members of the QA team. However, aside from Activision Blizzard not recognising the union, it has also been met with other resistances. At the time of Microsoft announcing its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard, 15 workers at Raven Software signed a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. They asked Nadella to encourage AB to voluntarily recognise the union. The letter also criticised Reed Smith, the law firm retained by Activision Blizzard. As the firm published anti-union material on its website.
“I hope that you will agree that this demeaning and insulting approach to employees who are seeking to improve their workplace should not be tolerated,” reads the letter of the employees.
Whether Activision Blizzard will recognise the union remains unclear. But if so, it would be a landmark case of labour rights in the games industry in North America.
Featured Image Credit: Activision Blizzard