After Activision Blizzard refused to voluntarily recognize the union formed by QA testers at Raven Software – a subsidiary working on the Duty games – the testers went through the election process and voted to form a union last month. Now Activision Blizzard’s current CEO, Bobby Kotick, told employees in a letter that the company recognizes the union and will “negotiate in good faith to enter into a collective bargaining agreement.”
Getting here comes after news of layoffs late last year followed by an employee strike and a five-week strike. There was also the part where Activision Blizzard engaged in tactics that smacked of union breakdown, such as suddenly converting other testers in the company to full-time jobs with benefits and pay increases that the Raven testers didn’t get very well, and to play out their roles. across the company, which is only a small part of the employee response that has occurred within Activision Blizzard over the past year.
The rest of the text in Kotick’s letter is below. After the vote passed with 19 out of 22 votes (two ballots were contested), the company was left with no easy options to continue avoiding it. Yet an alternate route was that Amazon is taking in response to a union vote at one of its warehouses, where it is contesting the vote, in a process that could delay the start of negotiations for years.
Meanwhile, Microsoft, which is in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard, recently publicly adopted principles for employee organization. The principles include a line that said, “We are committed to maintaining a close relationship and shared partnership with all our employees, including those represented by a union” — without specifically guaranteeing much.
I wanted to share the news that we will begin negotiations with the Communications Workers of America regarding Raven Software’s 27 quality assurance employees, the majority of whom have chosen to be represented by this union. Now that the elections are over, we will negotiate in good faith to enter into a collective bargaining agreement.
While the initial employment contracts may take some time to complete, we will meet with CWA leaders at the negotiating table and work towards an agreement that will support the success of all our employees, reflecting our commitment to providing the best, most welcoming and inclusive workplace in the world. industry, and enhances our ability to deliver world-class games for our players.
We are embarking on this process after major investments in our QA team members over the past few years, including a significant increase in the starting salary for QA specialists and converting more than 1,100 US-based temporary and temporary QA employees into full-time positions. This conversion provides access to comprehensive business benefits for QA employees and their eligible dependents. In addition, we have expanded access to performance bonuses for QA staff and learning and development opportunities. We’ve also seamlessly integrated QA into the game development process, increasing collaboration, resulting in better products for our players and more opportunities for our teams.
This is a time of great opportunity for our company. I want to thank you for the passion, skill and dedication you bring every day to create great games, take opportunities to make this the best workplace in the industry and connect our players around the world and involve.