It’s historic, the quality assurance department of Raven Software has voted to create a union to represent the staff. This is the first time in American AAA video game history.
For several years, the video game industry has discovered a structural problem within its studios, from the smallest independent developer to the largest publishers in the sector. The cases of sexual or moral harassment multiply, when it is not a question of problems of management with periods of repeated overwork. With each case, the impression of reading the same stories or testimonials, at Quantic Dream, Ubisoft, Activision-Blizzard, Moon Studio, CDProjektRed, Undead Labs and many others.
In this context, the Activision-Blizzard group has been particularly at the center of many cases since the summer of 2021, leading up to the announcement of a takeover by Microsoft, clearly giving hope for work on the group’s internal culture. The employees of Raven Software, one of Activision’s studios, did not wait for the takeover to carry out a historic action for video games: the creation of a union.
Activision recognizes the vote of its employees
Since January 2022, Raven Software’s Game Workers Alliance case has accelerated. As a reminder, the quality assurance division of Raven Software has indicated for several months its desire to create a union. After several months of discussion, the 28 employees concerned were called upon to decide on the creation of the union. the National Labor Relations Board, the American body in charge of organizing this vote was able to count 19 votes in favor and 3 votes against the creation of this union. From now on, the executives of Raven Software will therefore have to negotiate with this union.
The Washington Post was able to find statements from employees of Raven Software’s Quality Assurance (QA) department.
Now that the struggle for recognition is over, we can focus our efforts on negotiations. We will fight for respect, for better wages, better benefits, better work-life balance, for sustainability and job security, and we will continue to fight for our fellow workers in solidarity.
This vote was taken on the same day that the National Labor Relations Board publicly accused Activision Blizzard of unlawfully threatening its employees who were discussing their working conditions on social media.
What’s even more exciting than what this means for us at Raven is the precedent it sets for the gaming industry. QA employees are underpaid and exploited, it’s the norm and with the unions, we can change that. I hope our union is the first in a long line for QA workers and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the next studio will be.
If Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard comes to an end, the Redmond firm will therefore inherit its first union. Microsoft is known for historically rejecting the idea of creating unions. By Phil Spencer’s own admission, a union at Microsoft would therefore be perceived as a novelty. In the United States, other giants of the sector are also facing requests for representation from their employees, in particular at Amazon.
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