Earlier this year, quality assurance workers at Raven Software voted on the side of unionization.
Raven Software, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard since 1997, made titles such as Call of Duty Modern Warfare (2019), X-Men Origins Wolverine, Wolfenstein and Singularity. Employees inside the company claim that the video game publisher has been withholding raises from them.
The National Labor Relations Board concluded, after an investigation, that the company did, indeed, retaliate against the unionized workers. Negotiations between Raven Software and Activision are now continuing, but the National Labor Relations Board says that “if necessary” the case will be brought to a federal court.
“Due to legal obligations under the [National Labor Relations Act] requiring employers not to grant wage increases while an election was pending, we could not institute new pay initiatives at Raven because they would be brand new kinds of compensation changes, which had not been planned beforehand,” Activision spokesperson Rich George said in a statement.
Although Activision has claimed that the lack of a pay raise was due to the Labor Board’s rules, the investigation uncovered that quality assurance employees outside of Raven were given pay raises. Making matters worse for the publisher, it seems that before the union win in May, Activision President Daniel Alegre attempted to meet with pro-union workers.
Sara Steffens, secretary-treasurer for Communications Workers for America, said that she simply wants the company to act in “good faith” and halt alleged “illegal behavior.”
In June, Blizzard Albany also joined the union fight.
Microsoft’s deal with Activision Blizzard seems to have not been affected by the unionization and the $69-billion merger is expected to still go through.
Brad Smith, Microsoft President acknowledged the fact that unions are growing rapidly and went on to suggest that if his workers want to unionize, Microsoft will “respect” the decision. “Our employees will never need to organize to have a dialogue with Microsoft’s leaders, But we also recognize the workplace is changing,” he said.