Labor board determines Activision-Blizzard retaliated against unionizers, Microsoft launches acquisition website

And chill.

Last spring, Activision-Blizzard was hard at work trying to suppress the burgeoning unionization movement within its walls, spearheaded by QA testers at Raven Software, and in the middle of these overt unionbusting efforts, the company appeared to have given in to some worker demands, giving raises to 1100 QA workers across the company and bumping them to permanent positions. However, these perks were not granted to workers attempting to unionize; Activision-Blizzard characterized this decision as its “legal obligations” under the National Labor Relations Act, but unionizers pointed out that it was also convenient cover for it to continue dividing workers and suppressing union efforts by punishing those fighting for long-term labor rights.

The National Labor Relations Board apparently agrees, as according to new reporting on WAPO, the Board investigated the situation in response to complaints and has determined that the raises and employment status withheld from Raven Software were deliberately retaliatory, which again was not much of a stretch since this is a company that had already been caught illegally threatening workers and hiring to skew the vote.

Activision-Blizzard told PC Gamer that it will be “defending itself against the findings during the NLRB’s litigation process,” while a former NLRB rep suggested the findings would be used by unionizing workers as leverage in ongoing negotiations with ABK; readers will recall that Raven Software QA formally voted to unionize in May, forcing Activision-Blizzard’s cooperation.

The news is set against the backdrop of the release of Microsoft’s new acquisition website, which talks up its Activision-Blizzard takeover and the benefits it will have for players, devs, and the industry on the whole.

Source: WAPO via PC Gamer, Microsoft
Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial gaming company owing to a long string of scandals over the last few years, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, and executive pay fiasco. In 2021, the company was sued by California for fostering a work environment rife with sexual harassment and discrimination, the disastrous corporate response to which compounded Blizzard’s ongoing pipeline issues and the widespread perception that its online games are in decline. Multiple state and federal agencies are investigating the company as employees unionize¬†and call for Bobby Kotick’s resignation. As of 2022, the company is being acquired by no less than Microsoft.
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