Quality Assurance Employees at the ABK studio behind Call of Duty: Warzone, Raven Software, have reportedly unionized amid their ongoing strike. The new Game Workers Alliance was formed alongside the Communication Workers of America. The new Game Workers Alliance is the first studio within Activision Blizzard to unionize.
"Today, I am proud to join with a supermajority of my fellow workers to build our union, Game Workers Alliance (CWA)," said Becka Aigner, QA functional tester II at Raven in a CWA press release. "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.”
fellow QA functional tester II at Raven Erin Hall stated: “Our union will help inform what is best for Activision Blizzard as a company, as a platform for gamers and a workplace where all workers can thrive. The goal of the Game Workers Alliance (CWA) is to represent what we as workers in the industry want as well as set a new standard for workers across the industry moving forward.”
Raven Software's 60-person QA team started a strike over a month ago, following Raven Software's decision to not extend the contract of a dozen QA workers at the company. Since the strike, the quality of Warzone's gameplay has predictably declined, but ABK has reportedly continued to refuse any type of negotiation with the striking workers, with workers claiming that they have instead used "surveillance and intimidation" tactics to silence workers. The Raven Software strike followed multiple walkouts at ABK, after a lawsuit filed against the company by the State of California alleging a workplace culture marked by rampant abuse of women and gender discrimination.
"Raven QA workers are taking an important next step toward improving their working conditions by joining together in a union, and we are excited to be supporting their efforts," said Communications Workers of America Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens. "We ask that Activision Blizzard management respect Raven QA workers by voluntarily recognizing CWA's representation without hesitation. A collective bargaining agreement will give Raven QA employees a voice at work, improving the games they produce and making the company stronger. Voluntary recognition is the rational way forward.”
According to the CWA, the new union will work toward securing an agreement that improves working conditions, wages, benefits and transparency within Raven Software, as well as protect workers from retaliation from the company.
The unionization at Raven Software comes amid the news that Microsoft will acquire ABK for nearly $70 billion USD.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.