The Raven Software QA Team, who test content for Call of Duty Warzone, have successfully passed the motion to unionize- being the first of its kind at a large US studio.
Happy union day! We won! pic.twitter.com/nzJ4A3J3RB
— Game Workers Alliance 💙#WeAreGWA (@WeAreGWA) May 23, 2022
Dubbed the Game Workers Alliance (GWA), this body would now be able to better negotiate for improved conditions for QA workers, potentially opening the gate to better hours, pay and benefits.
This comes after a months long saga- one of many plaguing Activision Blizzard, who had also been accused of union busting efforts ahead of the vote, which they deny.
Despite all that, the motion to unionize was passed with a vote of 19-3, making Raven Software the first major game studio in US history to do so.
“The outcome of this election, the voice of the people coming together to vote yes for this union, is further validation that even a small group of folks in Madison Wisconsin standing together in solidarity can face up against a AAA studio giant like Activision, and come out the other side victorious,” said Becka Aigner, a Raven Software QA tester. “Now that the fight for recognition is through, we can focus our efforts on negotiations. We’ll fight for respect, fight for better wages, better benefits, better work-life balance, fight for sustainability and job security, and continue to fight for our fellow workers in solidarity.”
The road to unionization hasn’t been easy for the studio- there had been reports of internal communications trying to sway workers against unionizing, arguing that it would only hurt them in the long run.
Activision Blizzard had also refused to acknowledge said union, further lengthening the process to vote and have the union formally recognized.
Some of the retaliation has taken the form of rewarding non-unionizing employees- making it so the association with Raven Software’s Union could be seen as denying better pay and job security.
“It is unsurprising but nevertheless disappointing that Activision has chosen to exclude Raven Software QA workers, who have been at the forefront demanding better pay and benefits, from the company-wide wage increase. The company’s assertion that the NLRA prevents Activision from including Raven QA workers is simply a ploy to punish us for choosing to stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow workers as GWA”, said a representative of the GWA back in April during the initial announcement.