Third Activision Blizzard Video-Game Studio Seeks to Unionize
A group of Activision Blizzard Inc. video-game employees in Boston said Tuesday they’re organizing a union with the Communications Workers of America.
A group of Activision Blizzard Inc. video-game employees in Boston said Tuesday they're organizing a union with the Communications Workers of America.
The 57-person Proletariat unit that filed for union representation includes designers, animators, engineers, producers and quality assurance workers, according to a statement. Should the effort succeed, it would be the first gaming union at Activision comprising workers outside of quality assurance, who test video games for bugs and performance and are widely considered underpaid across the industry.
Irvine, California-based Activision acquired Proletariat and its 100 workers in June 2022 to aid in its World of Warcraft franchise. The union effort is the third this year at Activision — workers at the gaming giant's Raven Software first organized a union in January, while those at Blizzard Albany voted to unionize in December.
“Earlier this year, when we heard that Blizzard was planning to acquire Proletariat, we started to discuss how we could protect the great culture we have created here,” Proletariat software engineer Dustin Yost said in an email. “By forming a union and negotiating a contract, we can make sure that we are able to continue doing our best work and create innovative experiences at the frontier of game development.”
An Activision spokesperson said the company values “the contributions the talented Proletariat team has made since joining our company this summer. We've received the petition, and will be providing a formal public response” in the coming days to the National Labor Relations Board.
Microsoft Corp. is in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard for $69 billion and has said it will remain neutral on game studios' unionization efforts. Earlier this month, quality assurance workers at its ZeniMax Studios began organizing a union—the first at Microsoft. A Microsoft spokesperson said at the time that the effort was “an example of our labor principles in action. We remain committed to providing employees with an opportunity to freely and fairly make choices about their workplace representation.”
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