Raven Software QA employees vote to unionize

Raven Software walkout

The team becomes the first union at a major U.S. studio

Raven Software quality assurance workers have now officially voted to unionize. The final vote came down 19 for, 3 against.

The vote was held today, over a webcast stream. The group, Game Workers Alliance, marks the first union at a major games studio in North America and one of only a few around, including Vodeo Games staff.

It’s a big move, especially as The Washington Post reported that Activision Blizzard management had been discouraging employees from voting in favor of the union. A Bloomberg report from earlier today says that the National Labor Relations Board is preparing an official complaint unless Activision settles. An Activision spokesperson denied the allegations in a statement to Bloomberg.

A long road

It’s been a long road for Raven employees, starting with sudden layoffs at the end of last year. Workers at Raven’s QA department, which works on titles like Call of Duty: Warzone, held a walkout and eventually went on strike calling for worker representation.

The strike ended when the QA testers formed a union, Game Workers Alliance, under the Communication Workers of America. The union called on Activision Blizzard for official recognition.

Activision Blizzard did recently confirm it would be moving many of its U.S. QA workers to full-time positions. But the company also said it would not voluntarily recognize Raven Software’s QA union, leading to today’s vote.

The publisher has been the subject of acute scrutiny for some time now. A lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing kickstarted a series of lawsuits and reports.

Microsoft announced earlier this year that it plans to purchase Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Microsoft told The Washington Post earlier this year that it would “not stand in the way” of an Activision Blizzard union.

Eric Van Allen