Activision Blizzard Withheld Raises From Unionizing Workers: Report

  • Activision Blizzard, Inc ATVI illegally retaliated against workers at Raven Software who formed a union, according to a report that cited National Labor Relations Board.
  • The quality assurance (QA) department at subsidiary Raven Software, which primarily works on “Call of Duty,” announced that they would form a union in January. Activision Blizzard strived to block the union, reasoning that the union only comprises the 28-employee QA department, while Raven Software has around 230 employees, TechCrunch reports.
  • Regardless, the Raven Software QA testers, who operate under Game Workers Alliance (GWA), clocked a historic victory in May, with the GWA being the first officially recognized union at a significant U.S. gaming company.
  • While the GWA was in the process of unionizing, Activision Blizzard converted about 1,100 QA contractors to full-time staffers and increased the minimum wage to $20 per hour. But workers at Raven Software, among the lowest paid in the studio, were denied these wage increases.
  • The NLRB has officially ruled in the union’s favor, declaring that it was illegal for Activision Blizzard to withhold wages.
  • Activision Blizzard also faced scrutiny from the NLRB for the solicitation of grievances. 
  • Before the union vote, COO Daniel Alegre offered to fly to Wisconsin, where Raven Software is based, to speak with workers about their complaints. But NLRA barred the practice fearing coercion. 
  • The Microsoft Corp MSFT acquisition target already battled regulatory scrutiny for allegedly fostering a culture of harassment and discrimination against women, with its CEO Bobby Kotick privy to the matter.
  • In June, Microsoft and Inc AMZN shared solidarity toward unionization.
  • Microsoft President Brad Smith found it futile to resist lawful efforts to participate in activities like unionization.
  • Amazon CEO Andy Jassy voiced his support for those wishing to join the union assuring efforts to continue providing the right benefits.
  • Price Action: ATVI shares closed higher by 0.03% at $74.36 on Monday.
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