From a group of 34 quality assurance testers at Raven Software voted for unionization earlier this month was the parent company of the studio, Activision Blizzard pulling moves this will undermine that support and make it more difficult to organize workers. This morning, Activision VP QA Chris Arends sent the clearest message so far about where executives stand in an effort to unite, and (spoiler) is firmly against it.
On the internal, locked Slack channel on Monday morning, Arends asked himself six questions about the potential union and gave answers for employees from the Activision point of view, which was shared on Twitter by the union organizer Jessica Gonzalez. Employees could not respond to the message. Each response downplayed the benefits of union association, but a fourth query offered the most explicit removal of the organizational process. It reads as follows:
We have heard that the union will protect employees and provide employees with job security?
The job security here at ABK rests on our ability to produce epic entertainment for our fans. The union does nothing to help us produce world-class games, and the negotiation process is usually not fast, often reduces flexibility and can be opposed and lead to negative publicity. All of this could harm our ability to continue creating great games.
The fifth response argues that union-initiated negotiations take too long to be effective, stating clearly in the process: “A company with union organizations cannot act quickly on its own if the union does not agree with its position.” The final response reminded employees that they do not have to vote for the union when elections are held.
Gonzalez called the post “sad” on Twitter.
This is the latest move by Activision, which is designed to stop the momentum in the process of unionization in Ravenna. Just three days after employees announced they had collected the vast majority of signatures needed for a union called the Game Workers Alliance, Ravenna boss Brian Raffel discovered a reorganization plan this breaks up the quality assurance study department, moving employees to different teams.
Communications Workers of America, which supports GWA, said on Twitter that the dismissal was “nothing more than a tactic to thwart Raven QA workers exercising their right to organize.”
Activision has also not voluntarily recognized GWA, which means it will have to seek voting through the NLRB, a process that could take years. In addition, Activision is committed to voting that includes all Raven employees, not just QA workers, reducing the potential for success.
Arends’ Slack message – trying to convince employees that unions will make their lives slower and worse – is in line with Activision’s previous tactics.
Activision Blizzard is currently under intense scrutiny from multiple angles. GWA will be the first union in the AAA Game Development Studio in North America, potentially setting the stage for a larger organization across the industry. In addition, Activision Blizzard is the subject of lawsuits and multiple investigations into reports systematic gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the study, with incidents reportedly dating back decades.
And finally, Microsoft is in the process purchase of Activision Blizzard, Raven Software and all, in a $ 69 billion deal. It will be the largest acquisition in the history of video games and marks the industry period of consolidation. The day after the acquisition news was released live, Activision he told the SEC that there were no union efforts in the studies, although in previous months executives told Raven employees that “consider the consequences“signing union cards.
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