Raven QA staff are urging Microsoft to support the Activision-Blizzard union

Raven Software’s QA department, responsible for maintaining Call of Duty Battle Royale Warzone, has called on Microsoft to recognize their union during the Activision-Blizzard merger. The 15 workers fear the proposal will override any collective bargaining agreement.

Raven Software workers responsible for supporting the development of Call of Duty: Warzone have campaigned for unionization since a series of layoffs in December 2021.

After Activision promised better pay, several workers were laid off as Warzone pushed for its big Pacific Rim launch. Activision specified it “notified 20 temp workers across the studios that their contracts would not be renewed.”

The team of around 40 QA developers staged a strike just days before the content drop, which lasted into the new year. A group of workers also pushed for unionization, forming the Game Workers Alliance (GWA) in January 2022.

While Activision-Blizzard has yet to officially recognize the union, workers are taking steps to ensure it survives its $70 billion merger with Microsoft in 2023.

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Raven Software QA staff who help develop Warzone unionized in January this year.

15 workers have written an open letter to Microsoft asking them to put pressure on Activision-Blizzard to formalize this contract.

The letter, received from Axiosis published on March 27 in the Seattle Times, where Microsoft is based.

“The majority of quality assurance workers at our site have signed union authorization cards, and we have asked Activision-Blizzard to recognize our union with the Communication Workers of America,” it said.

“We recently learned that Activision-Blizzard, as part of their proposed merger, must seek Microsoft approval to voluntarily recognize or enter into a collective bargaining agreement with us as a union.”

The merger proposal states that Activision-Blizzard will not “voluntarily recognize any union, works council, or similar employee organization or enter into a collective bargaining agreement” unless it is “approved by Microsoft.”

The proposal also states that neither Activision-Blizzard nor Microsoft is “party to any collective bargaining agreement” at the time of filing in February.

The workers asked if Microsoft “would agree to voluntary recognition upon request” and what conditions Microsoft would impose on the collective bargaining process.

“We call on Microsoft to direct the management of Activision-Blizzard to end the union-busting campaign against us and to empower and encourage them to voluntarily recognize our union,” the letter concludes.

In a statement to Axios, a Microsoft spokesman said: “Microsoft will not stand in the way of Activision Blizzard recognizing a union.

“Microsoft respects the right of Activision Blizzard employees to choose whether to be represented by a workers’ organization, and we will respect those choices.”

Activision Blizzard has previously expressed He condemned the union movement, saying that while it respects workers’ rights, “all of this could hamper our ability to keep making great games”. Raven QA staff are urging Microsoft to support the Activision-Blizzard union

Emma Bowman

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