Call of Duty employees at Activision Blizzard vote to form a union, the second for the video game industry

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A small group of Activision Blizzard employees has voted to unionize at the studio that works on the popular “Call of Duty” franchise, the second victory in a campaign to organize the video game industry.

Quality assurance employees at Raven Software in Middleton, Wisconsin voted 19 to 3 to join the Communications Workers of America (CWA), according to a report by US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) officials on Monday. .

The union has yet to negotiate and reach an agreement with Activision. Under the CWA, Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision does not require reconfirmation of the vote.

“We respect and believe in the right of all employees to decide whether or not to support or vote for a union. “We believe that an important decision that affects the entire Raven Software studio of approximately 350 people should not be made by 19 Raven employees,” Activision said in a statement following the vote.

Wisconsin is a right-to-work state, meaning any worker can opt out of a union.

Employees are speaking out after multiple allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct at Activision. They walked out to protest the company’s response to the allegations and the firing of quality assurance inspectors. Employees have circulated a petition calling for the firing of general manager Bobby Kotick.

In the broader market, workers are also speaking out more and demanding better wages and working conditions.

“Workers in this field are overworked, underpaid and seen as disposable, which goes against people’s public image of tech workers,” said John Logan, a professor of labor and employment at San Francisco State University. the only way to gain respect is to join a union.

In December, Vodeo became the first video game studio in North America to gain union representation.

Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island, New York recently voted to unionize, and workers at an Apple store in Atlanta filed for unionization.

Workers at more than 58 Starbucks coffee shops in the United States have chosen to join Workers United, and at least four of the more than 262 stores that have tried to hold elections since last August have voted against the union.

“There’s a lot of energy and optimism, especially among young workers,” Logan said.

In Wisconsin, organizers called for a healthy work environment with realistic career development opportunities, fair compensation, and career advancement opportunities in an industry where quality assurance is undervalued, according to the official Twitter account. organizers.

The number of ballots received was 24 out of 28 eligible voters. There were two ballots cast, not enough to change the outcome of the vote.

“Other workers in the video game industry are excited and inspired by the unionization success of Raven Software workers. We urge Activision to respect their decision and commit to negotiating a fair contract,” CWA communications director Beth Allen said in a statement ahead of the vote.

US Labor Board judge orders union vote at ActivisionANALYSIS studio-Microsoft will have a hard time cleaning up Activision Blizzard’s culture.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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