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Proletariat casts "unionize."

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

December 27, 2022

2 Min Read
Screenshot from Proletariat's Spellbreak.

Game developer Proletariat announced that it's formed its own union. Formed with the Communication Workers of America (CWA), the Proletariat Workers Alliance (PWA) has asked for management to voluntarily recognize it. 

"Management," in this case, will be Activision Blizzard. Blizzard Entertainment acquired Proletariat over the summer, and the new ownership is expected to go into effect in early 2023. The day before that announcement, Proletariat revealed it would be shutting down its multiplayer game Spellbreak in early 2023.

Notably, Proletariat's union also includes non-QA employees. The CWA's press release specifically lists that employees in departments such as animation, design, engineering, and producers are part of the union, in addition to QA testers.

In a lengthy Twitter thread, the PWA explains that becoming subsumed into Activision Blizzard was part of the reason this union exists at all. "We are unionizing to protect [our mission statement] and to set the studio up for success as we enter Proletariat’s next chapter joining forces with ABK," it wrote. 

"When we heard that Blizzard was planning to acquire Proletariat, we started to discuss how we could protect the great culture we have created here," continued software engineer Dustin Yost. "By forming a union and negotiating a contract, we can make sure that we are able to continue doing our best work and create innovative experiences at the frontier of game development.”

Featured in the union's demands are flexible PTO (paid time off), remote work as a permanent option, and overtime being completely voluntary. Additionally, the union calls for a transparent process that lets workers and management "hold each other accountable without fear of retaliation to seek justice for all workers, especially those who hold marginalized identities."

This will mark the third union formed at the Call of Duty publisher, and comes following the successful unionization efforts of both Raven Software's QA workers from May and Blizzard Albany in earlier in the month.

Similar to Blizzard Albany's union efforts, and those currently underway at Zenimax Studios' QA team, Microsoft has entered a neutrality agreement with Proletariat. If Proletariat's workers vote in favor of the union, Microsoft will recognize it, should the Xbox developer acquire Activision Blizzard.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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