Call of Duty: Warzone Developer Raven Software’s Staff is Unionizing

Staff at Raven Software, after having been on a strike for a number of weeks, has announced that it's officially unionizing.

Posted By | On 21st, Jan. 2022

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Xbox’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard isn’t going to be finalized until well into 2023, which means there’s a number of crucial questions that aren’t going to be answered for a while yet. One of the more significant ones is about how Microsoft is going to address the ongoing controversies at Activision Blizzard, with the company’s long-standing issues with abuse and toxicity in the workplace, and whether or not CEO Bobby Kotick will stick around.

Related to that, Activision Blizzard workers have recently also been taking the first steps to unionizing, which was kickstarted when Activision let go a number of QA staff at Call of Duty: Warzone studio Raven Software. That process, it seems, has now kicked off in earnest. A number of QA staff at Raven Software have come together and voted to form a union, with 78% of eligible workers voting in favour of the same (via Polygon).

The group, called the Game Workers Alliance, is unionizing with the Communication Workers of America (CWA). Raven Software QA tester Becka Aigner said in a statement, “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.”

The CWA has said that Activision Blizzard has not been supportive of the move to unionizing, and on the contrary, has “used surveillance and intimidation tactics, including hiring notorious union busters, to silence workers.”

CWA secretary-treasurer Sara Steffens said in a statement: “We ask that Activision Blizzard management respect Raven QA workers by voluntarily recognizing CWA’s representation without hesitation. A collective bargaining agreement will give Raven QA employees a voice at work, improving the games they produce and making the company stronger. Voluntary recognition is the rational way forward.”

Activision Blizzard has provided a statement on the union’s formation as well, saying, “Activision Blizzard is carefully reviewing the request for voluntary recognition from the CWA, which seeks to organize around three dozen of the company’s nearly 10,000 employees. While we believe that a direct relationship between the company and its team members delivers the strongest workforce opportunities, we deeply respect the rights of all employees under the law to make their own decisions about whether or not to join a union.

“Across Activision Blizzard, we remain focused on listening closely to our employees and providing the improved pay, benefits and professional opportunities needed to attract and retain the world’s best talent. Over the past couple of years, this has included raising minimum compensation for Raven QA employees by 41%, extending paid time off, expanding access to medical benefits for employees and significant others, and transitioning more than 60% of temporary Raven QA staff into full-time employees.”


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