Members of Raven Software’s QA team have voted to unionize following pressure from Activision Blizzard and a wave of layoffs. This will be the first official union formed at a US-listed game company.
Call of Duty: Warzone
On May 23, 19 testers at Raven Software voted in favor of forming the union, with three people voting against it (via Bloomberg). The organization, which is labeled the Game Workers Alliance (GWA), is now officially recognized by the National Labor Relations Board.
“Our biggest hope is that our union serves as inspiration for the growing movement of workers organizing at video game studios to create better games and build workplaces that reflect our values and empower all of us,” the union’s statement reads.
Raven, which has been assisting the development of several major Call of Duty games over the years, will be able to negotiate with Activision Blizzard to improve working conditions and secure better pay.
Happy union day! We won! pic.twitter.com/nzJ4A3J3RB
— Game Workers Alliance 💙#WeAreGWA (@WeAreGWA) May 23, 2022
Last December, 20 testers (or around a third of Raven’s QA team) were laid off by Activision Blizzard despite being promised pay raises before. This resulted in massive walkouts at the company and led to the studio announcing its decision to form the union back in January.
Activision Blizzard has been opposing the intent for unionization, encouraging employees to vote against it. Even after the union was officially approved, the company noted that an “important decision that will impact the entire Raven Software studio of roughly 350 people should not be made by 19 Raven employees.”