Unionising QA workers won’t get raises from Activision Blizzard

"It’s especially galling that Activision has excluded Raven Software QA workers, who have been at the forefront of this effort, from these benefits"

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Earlier today, Activision Blizzard announced that it would move its 1,100 US-based temporary QA workers to full-time status, and increase the minimum salary for those roles across the company to $20 per hour. However, a spokesperson for the company has now confirmed to Bloomberg that these raises will not apply to workers at Raven Software, many of whom are pushing for unionisation.

Activision Blizzard says the lack of raises for QA workers at Raven Software are “due to legal obligations under the National Labor Relations Act.” The company says “whether Raven workers choose to unionise has nothing to do with the salary increases elsewhere for Activision’s QA workers.” You can read the full report at Bloomberg.

“Make no mistake, all credit for Activision Blizzard’s latest move to give all temporary and contingent QA team members full-time employment and a raise should go to the workers,” the Communications Workers of America says in a statement shared to social media. “It’s especially galling then that Activision has excluded Raven Software QA workers, who have been at the forefront of this effort, from these benefits. The company’s assertion that the National Labor Relations Act prevents them from including Raven workers is clearly an effort to divide workers and undermine their effort to form a union.”

Communications Workers of America is working with the Raven Software employees who are attempting to unionise. Employees formed a union called the Game Workers Alliance earlier this year, which Activision Blizzard has so far chosen not to recognise. GWA and Activision Blizzard recently participated in hearings with the National Labor Relations Board, which has yet to render a decision on the unionisation effort.

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.

Worker group ABK Workers Alliance says that pay for most QA employees at Activision Blizzard was set to $17 per hour as of December 2021.