Labor unions have become a hot button issue in the gaming industry in recent years. The start of 2022 has not only played host to groups of workers from different development studios like Raven Software and Keywords Studios moving to form labor unions, but several major game developers like Nintendo being accused of union busting, with companies reportedly taking harsh actions against workers looking to unionize. Now, with Activision Blizzard embroiled in its own union-related dilemma, similar accusations have started to come forward.
January saw quality assurance workers at Activision Blizzard subsidiary Raven Software, a studio working on the Call of Duty franchise, moving to unionize following disputes related to work culture and contract renewals. Activision has been accused multiple times since the process began of sharing anti-union rhetoric in its channels and the company’s law firm even accosted those employees. Now, a report from an anonymous Raven Software employee shows that Activision Blizzard has started to take action against the unionization movement.
According to a recent report from The Washington Post, Activision Blizzard has taken multiple efforts against the upcoming vote from Raven Software’s QA teams to unionize. The company has reportedly laid off 12 members of the QA team since last December with several others being transferred to different departments in an attempt to quash the union election. The report also claims that, during a town hall meeting, Raven Software executives suggested that unionizing may have effects on potential promotions and benefits for employees, implying potential penalties upon a successful vote.
Activision Blizzard taking disciplinary actions against the formation of a labor union within its QA teams would follow with its rhetoric leading up to the election as the company has repeatedly spoken out against the union. Activision Blizzard previously converted much of its QA staff into full-time employees in an apparent attempt to dissuade its employees from unionizing.
While Activision Blizzard’s union dispute has been one of the most high-profile in recent months, the unionization effort follows a greater trend sweeping across both the gaming industry and the tech industry as a whole. Last month saw workers at an Atlanta Apple Store file for unionization with the store looking to become the company’s first unionized retail store and several other companies within the gaming industry have seen similar pushes to unionize.
Source: The Washington Post