SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 21 (Reuters) - A group of employees at an
Activision Blizzard studio that works on the "Call of Duty"
franchise said on Friday that they had formed a union and would
seek voluntary recognition from the company, signaling organized
labor's first foothold at the video game giant.
The union, supported by the Communications Workers of
America, represents 34 people in the quality assurance
department at Raven Software.
Activision said it was considering the matter. Workers could
also seek to hold an election supervised by the National Labor
Relations Board (NLRB).
Activision's stock has been battered in recent months as the
company faces multiple accusations of sexual harassment and
misconduct, and on Tuesday Microsoft Corp announced
plans to acquire the company https://www.reuters.com/technology/microsoft-faces-challenge-cleaning-up-activision-blizzards-culture-2022-01-20.
As criticism of Activision Blizzard's culture has mounted in
recent months, workers have banded together to influence the
company's future, including staging a walkout and circulating a
petition calling for the removal of Chief Executive Bobby
Unionization has emerged as a goal for some, and workers in
other parts of Activision Blizzard are also signing union cards,
said Jessica Gonzalez, a former Activision employee, as well as
a current employee who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"I hope that we are able to serve as inspiration and to help
guide other parts of Activision Blizzard ... that want to follow
in our footsteps," said Onah Rongstad, a quality assurance
tester at Raven.
Activision Blizzard said in a statement that it is
"carefully reviewing" the request for voluntary recognition.
"While we believe that a direct relationship between the
company and its team members delivers the strongest workforce
opportunities, we deeply respect the rights of all employees
under the law to make their own decisions about whether or not
to join a union," the company said.
If Activision Blizzard does not voluntarily recognize the
union, workers plan to seek to hold an election sponsored by the
NLRB, Rongstad said.
Workers on Raven's quality assurance team began striking in
December after learning that 12 of their colleagues had been
laid off, Rongstad said.
By forming a union, the workers hope to gain more of a say
in decision-making at the company as well as help set their
working conditions. QA testers at Raven work up to 50- to
60-hour weeks when deadlines are looming, Rongstad said.
(Reporting by Julia Love; editing by Peter Henderson and