Activision Blizzard’s new full-time jobs come with a bit of union busting
April 7, 2022

Activision Blizzard’s new full-time jobs come with a bit of union busting

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Hours after saying it would convert over 1,000 temporary and contract QA employees to full time and supply a minimal pay of $20 per hour, Activision Blizzard is stating that Raven Software program QA staff won’t be a part of that deal. Based on a report from Bloomberg, the QA testers at Raven Software program who recently organized as the Game Workers Alliance won’t be able to benefit from the brand new pay minimal — one thing Activision Blizzard failed to say upfront when it despatched the preliminary information to media shops. Excluding organizing staff from company-wide advantages appears to be Activision Blizzard’s newest transfer in opposition to the burgeoning labor motion happening on the firm.

In a press release to The Verge, Activision Blizzard spokesperson Jessica Taylor confirmed Bloomberg’s findings, saying:

“All QA at Raven are full-time and have already got entry to full firm advantages and eligibility to take part within the firm’s bonus program. On account of our authorized obligations beneath the Nationwide Labor Relations Act, we can not institute new pay initiatives at Raven right now, as a result of they’d be new sorts of compensation change.”

Along with that assertion, Activision Blizzard additionally offered The Verge with a duplicate of the e-mail that Brian Raffel, Raven Software program studio head, despatched out to staff.

Group,

In the present day, it was introduced that each one US-based TEA and contingent QA staff will probably be transformed to FTE. This information builds upon our conversions throughout AP studios that started in December of 2021. Via direct dialogue with one another, we improved pay, expanded advantages, and offered skilled alternatives to draw and retain the world’s greatest expertise.

As a part of immediately’s information, these Activision QA groups will obtain a rise in minimal hourly charges. As well as, when the conversions happen, these QA staff can have entry to full firm advantages and eligibility to take part within the firm’s bonus program, the identical manner our Raven QA groups have already been capable of. On account of our authorized obligations beneath the Nationwide Labor Relations Act, we’re prohibited from making new sorts of compensation adjustments at Raven right now.

I encourage you to talk to any division lead, supervisor, or HR to be taught extra in regards to the union, this course of or to reply any particular questions on [this] information.

As at all times, I’ll share extra specifics once I can. I’m enthusiastic about what this might imply for our groups.

The e-mail appears expertly crafted to have a chilling impact on the Recreation Employees Alliance’s continued efforts to determine the corporate’s first union. Phrasing like “by way of direct dialogue with one another, we improved pay, expanded advantages, and offered skilled alternatives” sends the message that organizers’ union actions have prevented them from having fun with the advantages the corporate is extending to others.

As Activision Blizzard has not voluntarily acknowledged the union, the next step in the process entails a vote overseen by the Nationwide Labor Relations Board (NLRB). If a majority of voters resolve in favor of a union, it have to be acknowledged and bargaining should start. That vote has not but occurred, and excluding Raven QA from the company-wide QA enhancements would possibly intimidate employee-organizers and fence-sitters into voting in opposition to unionization.

The Communications Employees of America (CWA), which helps type and has advocated for unions at a variety of tech companies together with Activision Blizzard, agrees. In an e-mail, CWA secretary-treasurer Sara Steffens instructed The Verge:

Make no mistake, all credit score for Activision Blizzard’s newest transfer to offer all non permanent and contingent QA crew members full-time employment and a elevate ought to go to the employees who’ve been organizing, mobilizing and talking out.

It’s particularly galling then that Activision has excluded Raven Software program QA staff, who’ve been on the forefront of this effort, from these advantages. The corporate’s assertion that the Nationwide Labor Relations Act prevents them from together with Raven staff is clearly an effort to divide staff and undermine their effort to type a union (Recreation Employees Alliance – CWA). Activision’s disingenuous announcement is additional proof of the necessity for staff to have a protected voice on the job. We strongly urge Activision Blizzard to rectify this example and respect Raven QA staff’ protected proper to prepare beneath the regulation.

This isn’t the primary potential union-busting motion Activision Blizzard has taken relating to the organizing Raven QA staff. Days after the Recreation Employees Alliance voted to type, Activision Blizzard restructured the QA division, embedding QA staff throughout departmental groups. By breaking the QA division up into staff distributed throughout a number of groups, Activision Blizzard is doubtlessly isolating organizers and disrupting communication and cohesion. Although the method is widespread in online game developer group, the CWA stated, “[This] is nothing greater than a tactic to thwart Raven QA staff who’re exercising their proper to prepare.”

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