Update, April 22 (6:15 pm ET): An Activision Blizzard spokesperson reached out to Windows Central, expressing that the company is looking into an appeal.
Raven Software quality assurance (QA) employees are being allowed to vote for a union, a move that could see the first-ever union within a major North American gaming publisher.
The Game Workers Alliance shared on Friday via Twitter that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) officially ruled that the unit of workers is eligible to vote for a union. The unit consists of 21 QA workers at the Wisconsin-based studio. Previously, Raven Software’s parent company Activision Blizzard had requested the NLRB to require that the vote be held across the entire studio, which has over 230 employees.
Raven Software QA employees have been seeking a union for months, having ended a seven-week strike on Jan. 23, 2022. Employees eligible to vote must turn in their ballots by May 20, 2022. The vote will be counted on May 23, 2022.
Activision Blizzard recently announced that it was converting over 1,100 part-time QA workers into full-time employees, with pay increased to at least $20 an hour. QA employees at Raven Software seeking union recognition were not included in this number, with Activision Blizzard stating these workers were legally ineligible for the raise.
Activision Blizzard is currently in the process of being acquired by Microsoft in a deal worth nearly $69 billion. The deal, which is scheduled to finalize sometime in Microsoft’s fiscal year ending June 2023, will add Activision Blizzard to the Xbox first-party division, alongside existing publishers Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda Softworks.
Update, April 22 (6:15 pm ET) — Activision Blizzard seeks other options
“While we respect the NLRB process, we are disappointed that a decision that could significantly impact the future of our entire studio will be made by fewer than 10% of our employees,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson told Windows Central. “We believe a direct relationship with team members is the best path to achieving individual and company goals. We are reviewing legal options regarding a potential appeal.”