It’s been only five weeks since the QA testers at Raven Studios were on strike, and today they announce that they are forming the first union at a US-based gaming company. Raven Studios, a division of Activision Blizzard, might be the thorn in the paw in the new Microsoft acquisition.
Raven Software’s quality assurance department, which mostly works on “Call of Duty” announced their intention to organize with help from the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The Game Workers Alliance, which plans to focus on “improving the conditions of workers in the video game industry by making it a more sustainable, equitable place where transparency is paramount,” has its eyes to work on standards beyond its own company.
With news of the acquisition, the controversies of ongoing SEC investigations, and lawsuits from the State of California for Sexual Harassment and other complaints, is this a bridge too far? When 12 contractors were laid off in early December, the Wisconsin-based studio staged a 5-week walkout. Marking the third work stoppage for Activision Blizzard. How much more will it take for Microsoft to determine that the ailing company is not worth the time, money, and hassle that will come with it?
The GWA doesn’t see it as a problem, as they are focused on the industry, as a whole. “Today, I am proud to join with a supermajority of my fellow workers to build our union, Game Workers Alliance. 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,” said Raven Software tester Becka Aigner in a press release.
This story is still developing.