Having announced plans recently to form the first labor union within a North American AAA game developer, workers at Raven Software are ending their weeks-long strike action against publisher Activision Blizzard. “Pending the recognition of our union, the Raven QA strike has ended,” Activision Blizzard worker advocacy group ABetterABK said on Saturday in a tweet spotted by Eurogamer. “Unused strike funds are being stored for future organizing [and] strike efforts.”
The strike began in December when 60 employees and contractors with Raven Software’s quality assurance department walked off the job to protest the studio’s decision to lay off 12 of their co-workers. Raven is one of the developers that supports Activision’s Call of Duty franchise, and its QA team is specifically responsible for bugs and other technical issues in Warzone. When the action began, it had no planned end date, a first for the walkouts at Activision Blizzard. The publisher had reportedly declined to meet with the striking workers, despite mounting pressure from Warzone’s community over the game’s current state.
On Friday, the 34 workers who said they plan to unionize with the Communication Workers of America (CWA) asked Activision Blizzard to recognize their group, the Game Workers Alliance, voluntarily. The company has until January 25th to respond to the workers. “Activision Blizzard is carefully reviewing the request for voluntary recognition from the CWA, which seeks to organize around three dozen of the company’s nearly 10,000 employees,” the company said on Friday.
If the company fails to respond to the group, it will file for a union election through the National Relations Broad. Since the collective has a supermajority of votes, with 78 percent of the 34-person unit supporting the action, they can form a union without voluntary recognition from Activision Blizzard.
News of the union drive at Raven comes in the same week that Microsoft announced its intent to buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Pending regulatory approval, the company expects the deal, which could have far-reaching ramifications for the gaming industry, to close in June 2023.
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