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Activision Blizzard has declined to voluntarily recognize a worker union announced on Jan. 21, the first to be declared within the video game holding company. The group, called the Game Workers Alliance, is allied with The Communications Workers of America (CWA).
“We carefully reviewed and considered the CWA initial request last week and tried to find a mutually acceptable solution with the CWA that would have led to an expedited election process. Unfortunately, the parties could not reach an agreement,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said on Tuesday afternoon, adding that, “we deeply respect the rights of all employees to make their own decisions about whether or not to join a union.”
In the statement, the spokesperson added that the company expects the union will move forward with its bid to certify the union, which aims to bargain on behalf of quality assurance workers at the Wisconsin-based developer Raven Software, by filing a petition to the National Labor Relations Board for an election. The spokesperson added, “The most important thing to the company is that each eligible employee has the opportunity to have their voice heard and their individual vote counted, and we think all employees at Raven should have a say in this decision.”
The Game Workers Alliance responded on Tuesday by confirming that the group is filing a petition with the National Labor Relations Board for a union election. “We are deeply disappointed that Raven Software and Activision Blizzard refused to uplift workers rights by choosing to not voluntarily recognize our union in spite of our supermajority support,” the group said in a statement.
Activision Blizzard’s announcement arrives the same day that CWA national organizing director Tom Smith released a statement admonishing the company for an organizational restructuring, announced Monday, that will affect Raven QA workers. The change will “embed” these workers within other teams, per an internal communication, which Smith saw as “nothing more than a tactic to thwart Raven QA workers who are exercising their right to organize.”
Smith also took the opportunity to call for regulator oversight of Microsoft’s $68.7 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard, first announced one week ago. He asked that Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission and states Attorneys General take a “serious look” at the acquisition.
For the Game Workers Alliance to be certified, the NLRB union election results will need to show that a majority of Raven QA workers support the union. In their initial announcement on Friday of the Raven QA union and in subsequent communications on Tuesday, the CWA has several times mentioned that it has “supermajority” support.
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