Activision Blizzard turns 1,100 testers full-time amid union pressure

Activision Blizzard has announced that it will convert “all US-based temporary and contingent QA team members” to full-time employees. Nearly 1,100 workers will be made permanent as of July 1, and the minimum pay for those roles will increase to $20 per hour as of April 17. These employees will be eligible for company benefits and bonus plans, as well.

The company says this move “follows the process that began last year”, when 500 temporary employees were converted to full-time status. At the same time, a dozen temporary QA workers were laid off from the Activision-owned Raven Software. Other employees staged a strike, demanding that the dismissed workers be reinstated, and that all Raven QA employees be given full-time status at the company.

These protests led to the formation of the Game Workers Alliance earlier this year, a union that still awaits official recognition from Activision Blizzard. Hearings between the company and the GWA have been brought before the National Labor Relations Board, which has yet to render a decision on how an official unionisation vote should be handled.

Activision Blizzard has made its statement and internal emails to staff public. You can read the full text below, courtesy of Call of Duty fansite CharlieIntel.

In July 2021, the state of California filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard alleging years of workplace discrimination and harassment. The story has since embroiled CEO Bobby Kotick and prompted the US federal government to open an investigation. It continues to unfold and to be of immense importance to the game industry. You can catch up on all the developments so far in this regularly updated explainer article.

Microsoft announced in January its intent to acquire Activision Blizzard in a $70 billion deal. The buyout awaits regulatory approval, and is not expected to close until 2023. Microsoft says it does not intend to block a union under Activision Blizzard if workers choose to organise.

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