Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has introduced in a press launch that the corporate will acknowledge the union lately shaped at Raven Software program and start negotiations.
This information comes after months of controversy at Activision Blizzard surrounding its dealing with of Raven layoffs and the next union efforts throughout the Name of Obligation assist studio. Right here’s what Kotick wrote within the press launch, in full:
I needed to share the information that we are going to start negotiations with the Communications Staff of America associated to the 27 high quality assurance staff at Raven Software program, nearly all of whom have chosen to be represented by this union. With the election having concluded, we’ll interact in good religion negotiations to enter right into a collective bargaining settlement.
Whereas first labor contracts can take a while to finish, we’ll meet CWA leaders on the bargaining desk and work towards an settlement that helps the success of all our staff, that additional strengthens our dedication to create the trade’s greatest, most welcoming and inclusive office, and enhances our skill to ship world class video games for our gamers.
We start this course of after main investments in our QA workforce members over the previous couple years, together with considerably rising beginning pay for QA specialists and changing over 1,100 U.S.-based momentary and contingent QA staff to full-time positions. This conversion is offering entry to complete firm advantages for QA staff and their eligible dependents. As well as, we have now expanded entry to efficiency bonuses for QA staff and studying and growth alternatives. We even have built-in QA extra seamlessly into the sport growth course of, rising collaboration that leads to higher merchandise for our gamers and extra alternatives for our groups.
It is a time of nice alternative for our firm. I need to thanks for the eagerness, ability, and dedication you carry every day to create nice video games, to embrace alternatives to make this the trade’s best possible place to work, and to attach and interact our gamers around the globe.
In December of final 12 months, Activision Blizzard laid off a number of members of Raven’s high quality assurance workforce. Shoftly after, dozens of Raven staff went on strike. Activision Blizzard did ultimately break its silence on this strike, nevertheless it didn’t formally acknowledge it. Following that, 34 QA testers agreed to kind a union. These testers requested Activision Blizzard to voluntarily acknowledge this union by January 25 however hours after the deadline, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson mentioned it had declined to take action, citing that the 2 events couldn’t attain an settlement. You’ll be able to learn extra about that right here.
Following this, Activision Blizzard introduced that it was changing all U.S.-based QA testers to full-time staff, and giving them entry to full advantages and hourly wage will increase because of this. Nonetheless, when requested if the previous contractors laid off at Raven again in December can be employed again because of this conversion, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson advised GamesIndustry.biz, “This conversion of practically 1100 QA staff at Activision and Blizzard doesn’t have any relation to the petition pending at Raven studio. The Raven state of affairs is restricted to Raven. The testers whose contracts weren’t prolonged have been welcome then, and now, to use for any jobs on the firm.”
When requested by Bloomberg if present Raven staff would obtain new pay initiatives because of at the moment’s information, Activision Blizzard mentioned they won’t “on account of authorized obligations underneath the Nationwide Labor Relations Board.” A spokesperson for Activision Blizzard advised the publication that “whether or not Raven staff select to unionize has nothing to do with the wage will increase elsewhere for Activision’s QA staff.” An announcement from Sport Staff Alliance (CWA) secretary-treasurer Sara Steffens obtained by Fanbyte referred to as Activision Blizzard’s exclusion of Raven QA staff on this new pay initiative “an effort to divide staff and undermine their effort to kind a union.”
This led to CWA in search of a vote because of a positive ruling by the Nationwide Labor Relations Board. Activision Blizzard unsuccessfully challenged this course of by trying to make it so that every one of Raven’s roughly 350-person workforce – not simply the employees trying to unionize – must vote.
“We respect and imagine in the precise of all staff to resolve whether or not or to not assist or vote for a union,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson advised Sport Informer. “We imagine that an necessary choice that may influence all the Raven Software program studio of roughly 350 folks shouldn’t be made by 19 Raven staff.”
This didn’t happen and as an alternative, the vote got here all the way down to 22 staff. Final month, these staff voted to unionize, efficiently changing into the primary online game union at a AAA studio and U.S. sport writer, and the second-ever to kind a proper union within the North American online game trade. The Milwaukee department of the Nationwide Labor Relations Board counted mailed-in ballots submitted by eligible Raven staff and out of twenty-two ballots, 19 voted sure and three voted no. Events had till Might 31 to file an objection however such an objection didn’t occur. Right this moment, the union is official and now it appears Activision Blizzard is able to formally acknowledge it and meet it on the bargaining desk.