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US labor board says Activision retaliated against unionizing QA

NLRB says limiting pay raises to non-union QA testers was in retaliation for union activity

The National Labor Relations Board has found merit to at least one part of a complaint lodged against Activision Blizzard by the union representing Raven Software QA testers, according to The Washington Post.

The board has determined that the publisher's April decision to raise the minimum hourly pay for all QA testers except those at Raven was evidence of retaliation against employees for protected union activity.

An Activision Blizzard spokesperson disagreed with that finding, telling The Post, "Due to legal obligations under the [National Labor Relations Act] requiring employers not to grant wage increases while an election was pending, we could not institute new pay initiatives at Raven because they would be brand new kinds of compensation changes, which had not been planned beforehand. This rule that employers should not grant these kinds of wage increases has been the law for many years."

There are still other parts of the complaint that have not yet been ruled on, with the Communications Workers of America union accusing the company of retaliating and discriminating against Raven QA testers by laying off a dozen of their ranks and reorganizing the studio to eliminate the QA department in an unsuccessful attempt to disrupt a vote for unionization.

The union and Activision Blizzard will continue negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement as the NLRB process plays out.