Blizzard Proletariat, known for its multiplayer action game Spellbreak, has decided to follow in the footsteps of two other Activision Blizzard teams. A group of workers announced a new union to seek fair compensation and other benefits.
Blizzard Proletariat employees filed for a union election with the Communications Workers of America (CMA) on December 27. The group consists of 57 employees, including designers, animators, producers, engineers, and QA testers.
Proletariat software engineer Dustin Yost said Activision Blizzard has a “reputation for creating a hostile work enviroment,” adding that the unionization will help the team “continue doing our best work and create innovative experiences at the frontier of game development.”
Here are the key goals pursued by the Proletariat Workers Alliance:
- Flexible PTO policy, permanent remote work option, and other benefits;
- Transparent communication over compensation;
- No mandatory overtime and better pay and health protection for voluntary overtime work;
- Transparent system that will help management and workers hold each other accountable without fear of retaliation;
- Prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), so the team can build the “most diverse and equitable AAA game studio in the country.”
We are excited to announce that the workers of Proletariat have asked management to voluntarily recognize our union, the Proletariat Workers Alliance. 1/14 pic.twitter.com/JtYTCvJT5X
— Proletariat Workers Alliance (CWA) (@WeArePWA_CWA) December 27, 2022
It is unclear whether Activision Blizzard will recognize the union. However, the company noted that it will be providing a formal public response in the coming days to the National Labor Relations Board (via Bloomberg).
Who are Blizzard Proletariat?
- Founded in 2012, Proletariat is a Boston-based studio best known for its spellcasting battle royale Spellbreak.
- The multiplayer game came out in 2020, but the team decided to cease its development earlier this year and shut down servers in 2023.
- Shortly after the news, Blizzard announced an acquisition of Proletariat for an undisclosed sum.
- The 100-person studio will work on World of Warcraft and its next expansions.
How many Activision Blizzard studios have unionized?
- In May, a group of QA testers at Raven Software formed the first union at a US-listed game company. Despute using some union-busting practices, Activision Blizzard eventually recognized the initiative.
- In July, QA testers at Blizzard Albany (fka Vicarious Visions) announced a new union at Activision Blizzard. The company reportedly tried to block it by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the famous union-busting law firm. However, the group voted 14-0 to join the CWA union earlier this month.
- If recognized, Blizzard Proletariat would become the third Activision Blizzard team to seek unionization and the first gaming union at the company comprising workers outside of quality assurance.