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Activision Blizzard recognises Raven QA testers' union and will begin negotiations

CEO Bobby Kotick confirms what he is legally obligated to do, pledges good faith negotiations

Activision Blizzard has officially recognised the union set up by QA staff at Call of Duty: Warzone studio Raven Software.

In a message sent to the publisher's US employees and shared publicly, CEO Bobby Kotick confirmed the company will begin negotiations with the Communications Workers of America, the union in which the newly created Game Workers Alliance has been formed.

Following the successful vote for unionisation, Activision Blizzard and Kotick are legally obligated to both recognise the union and negotiate with it.

Negotiations will centre around the 27 QA staff at Raven Software -- the first worker group within a major video games company to unionise.

"With the election having concluded, we will engage in good faith negotiations to enter into a collective bargaining agreement," Kotick wrote.

"While first labour contracts can take some time to complete, we will meet CWA leaders at the bargaining table and work toward an agreement that supports the success of all our employees, that further strengthens our commitment to create the industry's best, most welcoming and inclusive workplace, and enhances our ability to deliver world class games for our players."

The CEO then spoke about the investments Activision Blizzard has made in its QA teams, including raising starting salaries and converting more than 1,000 temporary jobs into full-time roles.

Activision has been determinedly anti-union throughout this process since Raven's QA staff first began protesting and pushing for unionisation back in December.

The company asked employees not to sign union cards, while vice president for QA Christian Arends claimed via internal channels that unionisation could "hurt our ability to make great games."

Activision also restructured Raven Software, breaking up the QA team and embedding them in different departments -- another move perceived to be an attempt to prevent and discourage unionisation.

Even in the weeks before the vote on whether the group should unions, Activision sent messages to staff urging them: "Please vote no."

On the same day as the results of the vote were revealed, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Activision Blizzard had illegally threatened staff and restricted workers' rights.

Microsoft is currently in the process of buying Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. CEO Satya Nadella said in March that it "will not stand in the way" if the Call of Duty publisher recognises Game Workers Alliance.

This sentiment was reiterated by Xbox boss Phil Spencer last month.

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James Batchelor avatar
James Batchelor: James is Editor-in-Chief at, and has been a B2B journalist since 2006. He is author of The Best Non-Violent Video Games
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