Activision Blizzard game testers forms trade union

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Activision Blizzard’s unit, Blizzard Albany and its game testers have voted to unionize. The unionization was approved by a vote of 14-0. The Diablo-focused office will be represented by the Communication Workers of America (CWA), the existing Raven Software union.

The union vote for quality assurance workers at Blizzard Albany was initially postponed due to a motion filed by the video game development company asking the National Labor Relations Board to impound the ballots until a review is completed, and that 88 developers be included to avoid a fractured office. The attempt, however, was rejected by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which stated that the game testers shared a community of interest in their cause.

Blizzard Entertainment claims that quality assurance testers do not have a common interest and that voting should include all 100 full-time employees in the Albany office, forcing a second election. According to Albany QA tester Amanda Laven, this is the same argument that the Albany studio has been receiving via corporate emails for months, stating that the unit is a small percentage of the studio trying to make decisions for the rest of the employees.

The CWA, on the other hand, stated in its own statement that this was a vote against “burn out culture,” while Blizzard Albany associate test analyst Amanda Deep stated that the group was “advocating for ourselves” out of concern for the work and the games.

The sources for this piece include an article in Reuters.

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