Last week, Activision Blizzard had announced that 1,100 temporary quality assurance testers will be converted to full-time employees and enjoy a $20/hour wage increase. However, several game industry Workers Rights groups found that this pay rise did not extend to Raven Software QA workers.
Whilst all appreciate that Quality Assurance testers are being given the compensation they deserve, many suspect that the change was done to discourage unionization.
For context, Raven Software QA employees are in the midst of unionizing their workforce in the wake of the layoffs that took place in December 2021. Currently, employees are voting if they are for or against the establishment of a workers union.
Activision Blizzard has stated that the reason Raven QA testers have been omitted from this wage increase is because of the National Labor Relations Act. However, they have not quoted which specific ruling prevents them from granting pay rises.
Nevertheless, Activision Blizzard has shown no indication that they will be backtracking on this decision. As such, the unionization seems detrimental to any employee seeking to improve their wages and may have an adverse effect on voting procedure.
Many have criticized these actions as disingenuous and have been left conflicted about the otherwise good news.
As Microsoft has not completed the acquisition of the Activision Blizzard, it is unlikely that they had any influence over this decision nor will they be able to reverse it. However, they have stated that they would not dispute the outcome of the vote to unionize.
Whilst there appears to be some progression on the surface for Activision Blizzard employees, it remains to be seen if there is going to any genuine and drastic change to the company work culture.
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