On December 6, members of Raven Software’s QA department walked off the job to protest the layoff of 12 QA workers at the company. While the walkout quickly attracted support from other Activision Blizzard studios and spurred more forceful talk of unionization at the company, it has apparently not yet drawn a formal response from Activision Blizzard upper management.
In a letter shared Tuesday via the ABK Workers Alliance Twitter account, the striking workers said that they “have not had any communication from leadership” regarding their demand that the laid-off employees be offered full-time positions.
“We have emphasized that our demonstration is done with the best interests of the studio (and all projects on which the studio works) in mind,” the striking Raven workers wrote. “The downsizing of the Raven QA department without input from anyone within the department is concerning to us and others throughout the company. In the interest of making positive change for Raven, we would like to reach out to leadership to discuss the current situation.”
The workers listed three specifics they want to discuss with Activision Blizzard management: The details of their demand and expectations from both sides; relocation packages for employees who moved to Wisconsin to work at Raven; and “the context of the situation” from management perspective, including leadership goals for Raven’s QA department.
“Let us know when you are able to have a conversation,” the letter concludes. “We want to be able to foster a transparent and trusting relationship at this studio.”
Today is the third week in which employees across the company are striking in solidarity with Raven QA in response to surprise layoffs. Having had no response from our leadership, Raven QA sent the following letter earlier today. #WeAreRaven pic.twitter.com/e9AjbpuiJNJanuary 4, 2022
In an email sent to PC Gamer, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said the company is “deeply committed to the wellbeing of all of our teams, including our QA workforce,” and noted that Raven management “has engaged in dialogue with its staff to hear concerns and explain the company’s overall investment in development resources.”
“As previously announced, we are growing our overall investment in development and operations resources and converting nearly 500 temporary workers to full-time employees across our studios, the largest conversion in Activision’s history,” the spokesperson said.
“For the 12 temporary workers at Raven whose agreements were not extended, we provided an extended notice period, included payment for the two-week holiday break, and will be working directly with those that need relocation assistance. Raven is full of people dedicated to improving the culture at Activision, and we look forward to partnering with employees to do that work together.”
While positively worded, the statement would appear to be a rejection of the striking workers’ “singular demand”: That all members of Raven’s QA department be converted to full time employees, including the 12 who were let go. Fortunately for the striking workers, the fundraiser launched in December to support the work stoppage has been a resounding success, and currently stands at more than $361,000 raised.
I’ve reached out to the ABK Workers Alliance for comment, and will update if I receive a reply.