Microsoft and CWA union enter into ‘labor neutrality’ agreement that will ultimately apply to Activision-Blizzard


Microsoft is continuing its efforts to look like a decent place for gaming developers to work: It’s apparently entered into a “labor neutrality” agreement with the Communication Workers of America. That’s the parent union to which the Activision-Blizzard QA union group belongs, and yes, this agreement will eventually apply to ABK too, but not until 60 days after the acquisition is complete. Here’s the CWA’s summary of what the agreement entails.

“The foundation of the agreement is a commitment to mutual respect and open communication. Its five basic provisions will apply to Activision Blizzard employees after close of Microsoft’s acquisition. First, Microsoft will take a neutral approach when employees covered by the agreement express interest in joining a union. Second, covered employees will be able to easily exercise their right to communicate with other employees and union representatives about union membership in a way that encourages information sharing and avoids business disruptions. Third, employees will have access to an innovative technology-supported and streamlined process for choosing whether to join a union. Fourth, employees can maintain confidentiality and privacy of that choice if they wish. Fifth, if a disagreement arises between the CWA and Microsoft under the agreement, the two organizations will work together promptly to reach an agreement and will turn to an expedited arbitration process if they cannot. The agreement does not impact the Activision workforce before the close of the transaction.”

“This agreement provides a pathway for Activision Blizzard workers to exercise their democratic rights to organize and collectively bargain after the close of the Microsoft acquisition and establishes a high road framework for employers in the games industry,” CWA President Chris Shelton says in the press release. “Microsoft’s binding commitments will give employees a seat at the table and ensure that the acquisition of Activision Blizzard benefits the company’s workers and the broader video game labor market. The agreement addresses CWA’s previous concerns regarding the acquisition, and, as a result, we support its approval and look forward to working collaboratively with Microsoft after this deal closes.”

Earlier this month, Microsoft declared that it would be working with unions and wouldn’t try to stop workers who want to organize (as Activision-Blizzard management did up until last week).

Source: CWA
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