This is a historic moment for the video game industry, at least in the United States. Yesterday was the vote to decide on the formation of a union among the QA team of testers at Raven Softwareafter months of twists and turns following the decision toActivision-Blizzard to lay off part of the workforce. And for the first time in a major studio or publisher accustomed to AAA in the United States, a union was approved, with 19 votes in favor and 3 votes againstas reported by Eurogamer.
A major decision for workers’ rights
Happy union day! We won! pic.twitter.com/nzJ4A3J3RB
— Game Workers Alliance 💙#WeAreGWA (@WeAreGWA) May 23, 2022
Activision-Blizzard will have done everything to prevent it, but today Raven Software celebrates the birth of the union Game Workers Alliance. The publisher could have recognized this union on its own last January, but did not, which led the group of employees to send a petition to the government agency National Labor Relations Board.
And if the editor did everything to sabotage the vote and the petition, even sending instructions to the employees, Game Workers Alliance has become the first real American union at a major publisher.
Beyond impacting the rights and well-being of Raven Software’s QA team, it also sets a major industry precedent that could have a great impact and inspire others. We will also have to see what Microsoft thinks of this new union, given that the manufacturer is about to become the owner of Activision-Blizzard.
Activision-Blizzard, obviously not very happy with this result, reacted to this announcement via the Washington Post by declaring:
” We believe that an important decision that will impact the entire Raven Software studio of approximately 350 people should not be made by 19 of Raven’s employees. We are committed to doing what is best for the studio and our employees. »
But at the same time, the National Labor Relations Board states that the publisher has ” illegally threatened staff and enforced a policy that is contrary to workers’ rights “, what Activision-Blizzard denies in block. If the two entities find no agreement, it could land them in courtwhich would not be a first for the publisher, already in a lot of trouble with the law.