Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, says in a letter to employees that the company will recognise and negotiate with the Call of Duty: Warzone developer union formed by Raven Software QA workers. An unsurprising statement, as this action is the bare minimum that the company is now required by law to undertake. Following the formation of the Raven Software union, which was successfully approved in a vote on May 23, Activision Blizzard and Kotick are now legally obligated to both recognise and negotiate with the union.
In the letter, which was also shared with investors, Kotick opens by saying that “we will engage in good faith negotiations to enter into a collective bargaining agreement.” He says that Activision Blizzard representatives “will meet Communications Workers of America leaders at the bargaining table and work toward an agreement that supports the success of all employees.”
He follows this up by talking about their recent investments in QA members, mentioning the recent raise in starting pay for QA staff and the move of temporary QA workers to full-time positions. Crucially, however, the letter doesn’t note that these moves were part of union-busting efforts from Activision Blizzard that encouraged workers not to sign up for union movements. In addition, the QA workers at Raven Software who were in the process of trying to form their union at the time were excluded from these raises.
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.
In May, the Washington Post reported that Raven Software management sent an email to employees urging them to “please vote no” to the upcoming union vote. Microsoft, which is in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard for $70 billion USD, has stated that it does not intend to block unions formed by workers of the Call of Duty publisher.
With thanks to via GamesIndustry.biz.