Blizzard Albany QA workers announce they are unionizing

Workers at Blizzard’s Albany branch have announced a unionization bid

Quality assurance workers at Blizzard Albany have announced their intent to unionize. The QA team at the studio composes about 20 employees, and has filed for a union election.

In a public statement, the union dubbed Game Workers Alliance Albany confirms it is working with the CWA in unionization efforts.

“We, the QA testers of Blizzard Albany are committed to fostering an open, diverse & equitable workplace,” the statement reads. “We demand an environment where our skills, ideals, & democratic decisions are valued and respected.”

The union says it seeks to secure competitive and fair compensation, as well as pay transparency, better benefits, and improved health care. It also seeks to address disparities, establish transparent processes, and improve the work-life balance of workers. This includes establishing “reasonable protocols” surrounding crunch.

The group is calling on Activision Blizzard to voluntarily recognize the union. According to The Washington Post, workers asked Activision Blizzard to recognize the union last Thursday. The request was acknowledged, but there was no specification on whether the company would recognize the union.

“We deeply respect the rights of all employees under the law to make their own decisions about whether or not to join a union,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson told the Post. “We believe that a direct relationship between the company and its employees is the most productive relationship. The company will be publicly and formally providing a response to the petition to the NLRB.”

More union efforts

Blizzard Albany, formerly known as Vicarious Visions, has worked on several major franchises at Activision Blizzard, including the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater remakes. The team told The Washington Post that Raven Software’s recent bid to unionize was an inspiration.

Of course, Activision is also currently in the midst of being acquired by Microsoft. The Xbox publisher has previously stated it would not stand in the way of a union. Microsoft also recently signed a neutrality agreement with the Communication Workers of America, promising that Microsoft would take a neutral approach if employees at Activision Blizzard consider forming a union.

Eric Van Allen