more than 30 workers of Raven Software have come together to create the first union in the video game industry in the United States. They are members of the QA team (quality assurance, the division in charge of carrying out processes to evaluate the technical quality of the games) that participate in the development of Call of Duty: Warzone, the successful battle royale from Activision Blizzard. 78% of employees have voted in favor of this union and now they ask the company to recognize it.
Under the name of Game Workers Alliance and with the support of other worker groups, such as the Communications Workers Union of America and the group A Better ABK, which is fighting to improve working conditions at Activision Blizzard after cases of harassment, this new union was born to face downsizing to take place on January 28: In December, the company announced a total of 12 layoffs, reducing the number of people working by more than 30% (there are currently around 40 workers on the QA team).
“We formed @WeAreGWA because my colleagues and I want to have our voices heard and we want to see changes that reflect the wants and needs of both the gaming community and the workers who create these incredible products.” – Brent Reel, QA Lead at Raven.https://t.co/WLwYxl2TKw CWA (@CWAUnion) January 21, 2022
They fight against layoffs, but also seek better conditions
This group of employees has been protesting the job cuts at the studio since December, above all because they consider that the dismissals have no reason to be and they assure that the decision comes at a time when the project they work on, Call of Duty: Warzone, you are entering more than five million dollars a day. Of course, although the motivation for the creation of the union is contextual, those responsible for the Game Workers Alliance want to work to improve the general conditions of the study, achieving better wages, opportunities and better job management that does not lead to crunch.
The Raven Software workers’ union arrives in the same week as the announcement of the purchase of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft with a statement in which Satya Nadella, CEO de Microsoft, spoke of giving players and creators the importance they deserve to make video games a “safe, inclusive and accessible space for everyone”.