The Game Workers Alliance is fighting for the rights of game developers and quality assurance workers who work on Blizzard’s popular video games. They say they’ve been treated unfairly while using tools to improve their skills and are pushing Activision Blizzard, a company with annual earnings over $6 billion, to recognize them as union employees.
The “group qa activision blizzard raven software” is a group of employees that are asking Activision Blizzard to recognize the Game Workers Alliance Union.
Following five weeks of strike action in reaction to twelve temporary employees being notified their contracts would not be extended last month, a group of 34 Raven Software Quality Assurance workers have petitioned Activision Blizzard to legally recognize their founding of the Game Workers Alliance Union. According to a press release from the Communications Workers of America, a group of QA testers has reached the required 50 percent + 1 member majority for Activision Blizzard management to voluntarily recognize their status as a union, though this only applies to the Quality Assurance employees, not the entire 10,000-person workforce.
The organization would become an affiliate of the Communications Employees of America, which is the biggest labor union in the United States, with around 700,000 workers, with roughly 8,000 in Canada. Following the dozen workers of indie game developer Vodeo Games who successfully unionized last month, this would be Activision Blizzard’s first unionization and just the second time that members of a video game creation firm have effectively unionized.
America’s Communication Workers
“By forming a union, Raven QA employees are taking a crucial step toward improving their working circumstances, and we are proud to be supporting their efforts.” We request that Activision Blizzard management show respect for Raven QA employees by recognizing CWA’s representation without hesitation “Sara Steffens, Secretary-Treasurer of the Communications Workers of America, agreed. “A collective bargaining agreement will offer Raven QA personnel a voice at work, allowing them to improve the games they create while also strengthening the firm. The reasonable path ahead is voluntary acknowledgement.”
Three days after the walkout began, Blizzard replied by announcing that 500 temporary workers would be converted to full-time employees, but that 20 other contracts would not be renewed. While this alleviated some of the dissatisfaction, it did nothing to prevent a walkout at Raven Software, where many felt it was unjust that their workers were clearly targeted by the bulk of the cutbacks for no apparent reason. Activision leadership responded once more, claiming that Raven leadership was in contact with its employees to hear their concerns and highlighting the extended notice and holiday pay provided to affected employees, though several employees on social media disputed that such a conversation had taken place.
America’s Communication Workers
“Today, I am proud to join with a supermajority of my fellow workers to build our union, Game Workers Alliance (CWA). In the video game industry, specifically Raven QA, people are passionate about their jobs and the content they are creating. We want to make sure that the passion from these workers is accurately reflected in our workplace and the content we make. Our union is how our collective voices can be heard by leadership,” said Becka Aigner, QA functional tester II at Raven.
“We formed the Game Workers Alliance (CWA) because my colleagues and I want to have our voices heard and we want to see changes that reflect the wants and needs of both the gaming community and the workers who create these incredible products. It’s extremely important that workers have a real seat at the table to positively shape the company going forward,” said Brent Reel, QA Lead at Raven.
Activision Blizzard is presently examining the request, according to Bloomberg, and although Microsoft has not yet finalized its purchase of the firm and so has no official voice in the issue, we can be sure that the two companies are talking about it.
Bloomberg, via Activision Blizzard
Activision’s representative said the business is looking into the request for acknowledgment. “While we believe that a direct relationship between the company and its team members provides the best workforce opportunities,” the spokesman said in an emailed statement, “we deeply respect the rights of all employees under the law to make their own decisions about whether or not to join a union.”
Last month, the A Better ABK movement stepped up its efforts to unionize by handing out union authorization cards to employees, allowing them to demonstrate their desire to form a union. However, we haven’t heard much since then, implying that the effort hasn’t yet gathered enough signatures to proceed. As a reminder, the legislation requires at least 30% of workers to express their desire (through cards or other signatures) in order for the National Labor Relations Board to vote, while a showing of more than 50% allows the corporation to voluntarily recognize the union without voting.
The fascinating aspect is when a group of workers, such as the Raven Software QA team, want to form a union. While it’s not unusual for some shops or teams in larger organizations to have unions (or distinct unions from one another) while others don’t, they’re usually made up of people from various professions, such as metalworkers and electricians. While there’s nothing stopping a small group of employees, such as QA, from attempting to unionize without the rest of the company, the main difference is that a union’s strength is primarily based on its size, which is eroded in smaller groups because it’s much easier to fire and replace a few dozen workers than it is a few thousand.
This was shown in 2014, when a 38-person group of Microsoft bug testers formed and the corporation opted to remove them rather than recognize and deal with the union, despite the fact that they were temporary contractors and the firing was managed by the contract firm rather than Microsoft. However, if Raven Software’s unionization push succeeds, it’s probable that this group may suffer the same fate.
The “group qa blizzard raven software cwaschreierbloomberg” is a group of quality assurance workers who are asking Activision Blizzard to recognize the Game Workers Alliance Union. The game workers union has been trying for years to get recognition from Activision, but they have not yet succeeded.
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