The QA division of Raven Software, responsible for looking after Call of Duty battle royale Warzone, have urged Microsoft to recognize their union during the Activision-Blizzard merger. The 15 workers fear the proposal will quash any collective bargaining agreement.
Workers at Raven Software, responsible for helping with the development of Call of Duty: Warzone, have been pushing through a unionization effort since a number of layoffs in December 2021.
After promises of better pay from Activision, several workers were let go as Warzone pushed towards its big Pacific launch. Activision stated it “notified 20 temporary workers across studios that their contracts would not be extended.”
The team of around 40 QA developers staged a walkout just days before the content drop, which lasted into the new year. A group of the workers also pushed for unionization, uniting as the Game Workers Alliance (GWA) in January 2022.
While Activision-Blizzard is yet to formally recognize the union, the workers are taking steps to ensure it lives past the $70 billion merger with Microsoft in 2023.
15 workers have written an open letter to Microsoft asking them to pressure Activision-Blizzard into formalizing that collective bargaining agreement.
The letter, obtained by Axios, will be published in March 27’s edition of the Seattle Times, where Microsoft is based.
“The majority of quality assurance employees at our location have signed union authorization cards and we have asked Activision-Blizzard to recognize our union with the Communication Workers of America,” it opens.
“We recently learned that as part of their proposed merger, Activision-Blizzard must seek Microsoft’s approval to voluntarily recognize or enter into a collective bargaining agreement with us as a union.”
The merger proposal states that Activision-Blizzard will not “voluntarily recognize any labor union, works council or similar employee organization or enter into a collective bargaining agreement” unless it’s “approved by Microsoft”.
The proposal also states that neither Activision-Blizzard nor Microsoft “is a party to any collective bargaining agreement” at the time of filing back in February.
A version of the letter is also slated to run in Microsoft's backyard this weekend in the Sunday edition of the Seattle Times pic.twitter.com/e1sHUSKFLY
— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) March 24, 2022
The workers asked whether Microsoft “would approve voluntary recognition if asked” and what conditions Microsoft would impose on the collective bargaining process.
“We are asking Microsoft to tell Activision-Blizzard’s management to stop the union busting campaign that is being waged against us and to authorize and encourage them to voluntarily recognize our union,” the letter concludes.
In a statement to Axios, a Microsoft spokesperson said “Microsoft will not stand in the way if Activision Blizzard recognizes a union.
“Microsoft respects Activision Blizzard employees’ right to choose whether to be represented by a labor organization and we will honor those decisions.”
Activision-Blizzard has previously made statements condemning the union movement, stating that while it respects employees’ rights, “all of this could hurt our ability to continue creating great games.”