The quality assurance team at Raven Software has officially voted to unionize. 22 employees took part in the vote, with 19 voting in favor of unionizing. This union at Raven Software is now the first union at a major games studio in North America.
Creating a union was not an easy task for the group. It has taken several months of work with Activision trying to shut down the movement throughout. The Call of Duty publisher had been sending emails to employees encouraging them to vote no. Furthermore, Activision told employees that unionizing would impede game development and affect their chances to receive promotions and benefits.
The push to unionize at Raven Software began last year. After months of promises regarding better compensation, Activision instead laid off a third of its QA team. In protest, the workers staged a strike that lasted a few weeks and led to the initial formation of the union.
Another motive for the union was the ongoing cultural issues present at Activision Blizzard. Be it the “frat boy,” culture, sexual harassment allegations, or issues with discrimination, Activision’s higher-ups have been accused of harboring a negative atmosphere. In response 1,000 Activision employees signed a letter asking for change. The company’s response was to call the allegations “distorted,” and “false.”
The benefits of a union
The recognizing of a union is great for the QA team at Raven Software. Unions help employees gain more rights and improve aspects such as minimum wage, working time, and paid holiday duration. They also encourage equality and equal pay.
Unfortunately, the games industry has very few of them. This gives the companies most of the power and the ability to treat their employees unfairly. Affected individuals can sue, but it’s a huge undertaking given the gap between each party’s available legal resources. A union gives the workers a voice to force change on a larger scale.
Happy union day! We won! pic.twitter.com/nzJ4A3J3RB
— Game Workers Alliance