In the midst of all the news surrounding Activision Blizzard’s abuses and the recent acquisition by Microsoft, a genuine milestone for the gaming industry just occurred. The quality assurance team at Raven Software, one of Activision’s subsidiaries, has formed the very first video game labor union at a major US corporation, which goes by the name Game Workers Alliance. This union aims to have Activision Blizzard’s leadership recognize it without attempting to break it up or retaliate against it.
Game Workers Alliance has chosen to unionize alongside the Communications Workers of America, the largest labor union currently residing in the United States. So far, Game Workers Alliance has garnered the support of 78% of Raven Software’s QA team, at least according to an anonymous representative of the union who spoke to Polygon.
A constantly-evolving situation
The formation of this union comes as Raven Software’s QA employees continue their strike that has lasted since early December. This strike began largely due to Raven leadership’s decision to lay off around a third of its QA team. According to Bloomberg journalist Jason Schreier, an anonymous Activision Blizzard spokesman stated that the company plans to “carefully [review] the request for voluntary recognition from the CWA, which seeks to organize around three dozen of the company’s nearly 10,000 employees.”
Game Workers Alliance does not serve as the United States’ first-ever gaming labor union. That title belongs to a team of employees working at the independent studio Vodeo Games, which recognized their union last month. Having said that, this does not diminish the importance of what the QA team at Raven Software has accomplished so far with its union, and it could lead to more gaming unions forming in the future. Now, the Raven Software union just needs to be voluntarily recognized by Activision Blizzard. If the corporation refuses to do so, it will likely end up looking even worse than it already does.