Workers at Call of Duty developer Raven Software are now one step closer to realising their unionisation efforts, something which, it’s fair to say, has not been encouraged by parent company Activision Blizzard.
Axios has reported that those at Raven Software have now obtained approval from the National Labour Relations Board to move forward with a vote on whether to unionise. This is a major step for the QA team, as previous efforts for voluntary recognition from ABK had been denied. This latest approval means that legally, should the vote to unionise be won by the majority of workers, Activision Blizzard will have to recognise its workers’ terms and conditions.
“Once a union has been certified or recognised, the employer is required to bargain over your terms and conditions of employment with your union representative,” states the NLRB.
If the majority of workers at Raven Software do vote in favour of unionisation, they will be the first company under the Activision Blizzard umbrella to do so within a legally binding capacity.
In response to this approval from the NLRB, a representative from Activision Blizzard told Axios: “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 ten percent of our employees.”
“We believe a direct relationship with team members is the best path to achieving individual and company goals.”
However, those within Raven Software are evidently delighted by this latest turn of events. “We are looking forward to voting for – and winning – our union,” organisers have said.
Ballots for the vote are expected to be mailed out on 29th April, with the votes then being counted on 23rd May.
In December of last year, Activision laid off a third of its QA team from Raven Software. In response to this, employees at Raven Software subsequently took part in a strike, with many walking out.
Earlier this month Activision announced its plans to convert all US-based game testers on temporary contracts to full-time employees, with an improved $20/hour salary and access to full company benefits. However, the company did not apply this change to any of its staff at Raven.