Blizzard once again tries to delay Albany QA workers’ union vote through a request for review


Just because Blizzard was told “no” already apparently doesn’t mean the company is giving up on stopping QA workers at Diablo IV developer Blizzard Albany from forming a union. Blizzard has once again thrown a hurdle in front of workers’ attempt to organize by filing a request for review to the National Labor Relations Board, effectively trying to impound employee ballots while the asked for review is completed.

The arguments being made by Blizzard are quite literally the same ones it used to try and stop efforts at the Albany office as well as ones raised against Raven Software QA workers: that Albany QA workers should not steer the decisions of the entire studio and that all 100 employees should be included in the vote to unionize. “Activision wants what’s best for the entire team, including a transparent and democratic process for all employees,” a company spokesperson asserts. “We are concerned that 18 individuals will have the voting power to determine the fate of more than 100 workers and that’s why we advocate for all workers to have a vote.”

We note once again that this is a continuing mischaracterization of the process by ABK that has failed to convince the labor board in previous attempts; the QA union impacts only QA, not other units within the studio, which are also free to organize on their own.

That’s a position backed up by employees supporting the effort, who appear to be undeterred; Albany QA tester Amanda Laven, a three year veteran of the studio, points out that the QA unit is not making decisions for any other department in the studio and has not bargained for other employee wages or benefits, and argues that Blizzard is simply trying to hamstring the process before its Microsoft buyout can be completed.

Whether the NLRB will entertain this motion or not isn’t immediately clear, though it is expected to be rejected by the board, particularly since employees at the studio have already been sending in their ballots. On that subject, voting is expected to be finished by the end of the week.

source: Times Union via Twitter
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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