Raven Software quality assurance employees have successfully formed the first-ever union at a triple-A video game developer in the United States. The final vote count for the union was 19 in favor, three opposed. 24 votes were cast, two were challenged. A spokesperson for the National Labor Relations Board said that the number of challenged votes was not sufficient to interfere with the final result.
This is a huge victory for the group known as Game Workers Alliance, which successfully banded together in the last few months to first strike in protest of several contract employees being released from Raven Software, then to formally unionize with the NLRB.
Said unionization push came after several months of workers speaking up about alleged misconduct at Activision Blizzard, which came to light after the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against the company for allegedly fostering a culture of sexual harassment and toxicity.
In the months since, workers at Activision Blizzard have walked out on two occasions (a third walkout was moved to an all-digital format), called for the resignation of CEO Bobby Kotick, and formed two worker advocacy groups: A Better ABK and Game Workers Alliance.
The latter is now a federally recognized union.
Activision Blizzard’s labor woes haven’t stopped there. The company did settle a lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but it is also being sued by former employees and the family of a deceased employee.
An Activision Blizzard spokesperson offered the following comment in response to the vote, disputing that a subsection of workers should be allowed to unionize without the whole company. “We respect and believe in the right of all employees to decide whether or not to support or vote for a union. We believe that an important decision that will impact the entire Raven Software studio of roughly 350 people should not be made by 19 Raven employees.”