After months of protest, 5 week-long strikes, and a petition to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Game Workers Alliance won the union vote at Raven Software, as reported by NYTimes. A group of workers who were working at the reputed subsidiary of Activision Blizzard has voted to form a union. The voting happened on the 23rd of May, 2022 and a Livestream for the same was held on Twitch. With 19 out of 22 votes in favor, GWA has become the second union in the video game industry from North America, after workers at the Video games successfully formed one earlier in December 2021.
The labor organization from the Wisconsin-based company will enter negotiations, deliberating on issues such as better pay for employees, job security, and corporate accountability. Activision has one week to formally object if it finds grounds for complaint.
Game Workers Alliance: The unionization movement came to a successful conclusion
The unionization movement started when more than 60 employees from Raven Software QA raised their concerns over the fact that 12 people were being laid off, leading to walkouts and week-long strikes. Activision tried to control the situation, by explaining that the employees weren’t laid off, rather their contract was not extended. The situation spiralled further and Activision rather than solving the issues, continued to hinder the unionization efforts.
The company dispersed employees across several teams and also filed a petition with National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), to let all employees of Raven Software be a part of the voting process, rather than just the QA team, which could potentially lead to a loss in the majority. Activision even tried to persuade NLRB to hold the voting, but its request was denied.
The formation of a union is being hailed as a landmark event, as it will further push unionization efforts in the industry and the small-term impacts can be seen as pay raises and full-time contracts were rolled out in April 2022 for over 1000 employees at Activision Blizzard. The monumental efforts of the Game Workers Alliance are touted to be a start on the path to recognizing game testers, as they have been often neglected even though they perform an integral function in a game’s development.
What are your thoughts on the fact that Game Workers Alliance has won a vote, to form a union at the Raven Software? Let us know in the comments below!