While there has been some positive feedback from employees at the studios now set to be acquired by Microsoft in the purchase of Activision Blizzard, with many hopeful meaningful changes will be implemented, they have also stated this change would not derail plans for workers to protect themselves. This has started at Raven Software in which the Quality Assurance testers have officially set up their own union called the Game Workers Alliance which itself will be part of the Communication Workers of America (CWA).
This is a follow-up to statements made by employees weeks ago, during which the Raven Software employees staged a walkout in solidarity with their QA testers after several were fired by Activision Blizzard management in a move seemly to free up their budget for large hiring at another studio. In total 34 QA testers have decided to unionize.
In a press release from Raven Software tester Becka Aigner, she stated:
Today, I am proud to join with a supermajority of my fellow workers to build our union, Game Workers Alliance (GWA). In the video game industry, specifically Raven QA, people are passionate about their jobs and the content they are creating. We want to make sure that the passion from these workers is accurately reflected in our workplace and the content we make. Our union is how our collective voices can be heard by leadership.
While this is the first Union to crop up in the company, it is not expected to be the last based on statements made earlier last year. Blizzard employees staged two walk-outs in 2021 over claims of workplace harassment and a toxic work environment, with continued talks about implementing worker safeguards like unions into the studios.
Microsoft is set to take over the studios in 2023 at the earliest and it remains to be seen what their take will be on this subject.