QA workers at Diablo IV studio unanimously vote to form a union

And Blizzard is already digging its heels in to delay efforts yet again


Activision-Blizzard has once more been thwarted in its efforts to stop workers at one of its studios from forming a union.

After fighting through months of Blizzard’s attempts to challenge the process through every possible avenue available to it, the QA workers at Diablo IV studio Blizzard Albany have voted unanimously to form its union, GWA Albany, which as its name suggests falls under the Game Workers Alliance union that QA workers at Blizzard studio Raven Software formed in May. The vote tally was 14-0 with three votes challenged according to the NLRB.

“It took an unbelievable amount of work and perseverance to move this fight forward,” said associate test analyst Amanda Deep in a statement. “With this victory, we’re advocating for ourselves and each other because we care deeply about our work and the games we make.”

“We knew we were gonna win, but it’s still extremely exciting and gratifying, especially because tomorrow marks the first anniversary of when we started organizing,” said Amanda Laven, another member of the studio’s QA team.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the matter is completely settled: Both parties have five days to file any objections, and if no one objects, the results will be official and Blizzard Albany leadership will be required by the NLRB to bargain with the union. It’s at this point that we should reference claims made by Raven Software’s GWA, which accused Blizzard of “continued intransigence” in negotiating the contract with the union.

To that point, statements from Activision spokespeople note the company is “considering all options, with a focus on what is best for all employees and to provide the best games for our millions of players,” and an internal email from Blizzard Albany leadership read in part that “it is more fair and valid if the whole team has an opportunity to decide” (which surely must mean that Blizzard Albany execs will encourage all the other teams to unionize too… right? Right?)

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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