pencil in another Winning video game industry’s collective bargaining effort: Microsoft and U.S. communications workers reached a labor-neutral deal on Monday that will allow workers to explore their right to unionize freely without fear of retaliation. The agreement takes effect 60 days after Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
This is an unprecedented deal for the gaming industry, which has been known to be collectively hostile to workers from the start.Nowhere is this more evident than at Activision Blizzard, where the company employs Unions destroy companies and use of anti-worker rhetoric.The first union formed under the company banner was from call-of-duty Developer Raven Software – They successfully pushed this feat with a small QA department and 19 “yes” votes.
Under the neutrality agreement, employees will be able to discuss union membership with their colleagues and keep those topics confidential. “If CWA and Microsoft disagree under the agreement, the two organizations will cooperate expeditiously to reach an agreement, and if an agreement cannot be reached, will resort to an expedited arbitration process,” the CWA said in the announcement.
CWA President Chris Shelton said in a statement that the agreement “provides an avenue for Activision Blizzard employees to exercise their democratic rights to organize and bargain collectively” once the Microsoft acquisition closes. In other words, Shelton continued, the employee now has a seat at the table.
CWA has been fed up with the impending merger for months.in March, it urge the Federal Trade CommissionAlong with 14 other organizations, the deal was “scrutinized” before closing: “A potential acquisition by Microsoft could further damage workers’ rights and suppress wages.” The neutrality agreement allays those concerns. Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a statement that the upcoming acquisition is the company’s “first chance” to enforce the guidelines it has already laid out on labor organization.
Microsoft has always been open to employees joining unions. Xbox head Phil Spencer tells company employees will recognize After the merger was complete, Raven’s union went beyond Activision Blizzard’s repeated reticence in responding to workers’ efforts.apart from the accusation union destructionthe National Labor Relations Board said in May Discover the benefits Alleging the company threatened employees who talked about working conditions. Activision Blizzard refused to voluntarily recognize the Ravens’ union, forcing workers to legally win their rights through elections.
On May 23rd, a group of quality assurance developers made history after winning a vote to form the first AAA league at one of the largest gaming companies on the planet. Activision Blizzard responded by hitting back: “We believe that important decisions affecting the roughly 350 people across the Raven Software studio should not be made by 19 Raven employees,” spokesman Kelvin Liu told WIRED.
But Activision Blizzard could no longer continue the battle.CEO Bobby Kotick sends an email to employees June 10 Sources say the company will be negotiating with the ACW and 27 QA workers in the department: “We will be meeting CWA leaders at the negotiating table and working towards an agreement that supports the success of all of our employees, further strengthening We have a passion for creating the best, most passionate and inclusive workplace in the industry and enhancing our ability to deliver world-class games to our players.”
Microsoft’s willingness to partner with CWA bodes well for the company’s future organizational efforts, but there’s still a long way to go to improve working conditions. Agreeing on a contract is a long and intensive process, requiring compromises and back-and-forth negotiations on behalf of both parties. Kotick claims it will bargain in good faith, but at this point the company is legally obliged to come to the negotiating table. He has no choice.
Still, Sara Steffens, secretary and treasurer of the CWA, told Wired that Kotick’s commitment is “a positive step in Activision’s move toward high-road industrial relations.” “[We] Hope,” she said, “[Kotick’s announcement] It is the first of many steps to actively shape the future of Activision through strong union contracts between Activision Blizzard leadership and employees. “