34 Raven Software QA workers unionizing under the banner Game Workers Alliance are filing a petition for a union vote with the National Labor Relations Board after Activision Blizzard failed to respond to their unionization request by their initial deadline of 6PM EST today.
Organizers told Washington Post gaming vertical Launcher that they have a "supermajority" of votes within their department, which in theory means they can unionize without recognition from Activision Blizzard Management. If the vote turns out in their favor, a simple 50 percent + 1 majority would mean that Activision Blizzard would need to negotiate with the union in good faith.
(As would prospective future parent company Microsoft, if its acquisition of Activision Blizzard is a success).
Raven Software QA employees returning from their impromptu strike were told this week that their department is being reorganized to insert QA testers into other departments. It's unclear if this would impact how the NLRB views the organizing workers.
We've reached out to Activision Blizzard for comment on this development, and will update this story when the company responds.
Update: An Activision Blizzard spokesperson provided the following statement in response to news of the petition filing:
At Activision Blizzard, we deeply respect the rights of all employees to make their own decisions about whether or not to join a union. We carefully reviewed and considered the CWA initial request last week and tried to find a mutually acceptable solution with the CWA that would have led to an expedited election process. Unfortunately, the parties could not reach an agreement.
We expect that the union will be moving forward with the filing of a petition to the NLRB for an election. If filed, the company will respond formally to that petition promptly. The most important thing to the company is that each eligible employee has the opportunity to have their voice heard and their individual vote counted, and we think all employees at Raven should have a say in this decision.
Across the company, we believe that a direct relationship between managers and team members allows us to quickly respond and deliver the strongest results and opportunities for employees. As a result of these direct relationships, we’ve made a number of changes over the past couple years including raising minimum compensation for Raven QA employees by 41%, extending paid time off, expanding access to medical benefits for employees and their significant others, and transitioning more than 60% of temporary Raven QA staff into full-time employees. We look forward to continuing a direct dialogue with our team and working together to make our workplace better.