Today, mail ballots will be mailed to workers at Raven Software. Workers will have the chance to vote on whether or not they want to be represented by the Game Workers’ Alliance of North America. The alliance is affiliated with the Communications Workers of America.
On January 21 workers at Raven Software, a video game studio under Activision Blizzard, announced the launch of their union, Game Workers Alliance Union (CWA), with Communications Workers of America. Workers at Raven’s quality assurance department requested voluntary recognition from Activision Blizzard management in alignment with the desire of a supermajority of their workforce. Game Workers Alliance (CWA) is the first unit within Activision Blizzard to form a union. Microsoft recently announced plans to acquire the company.
Although the company could have agreed to voluntary recognition they did not and forced the union to go to the National Labor Relations Board to order an election. On April 22 the NLRB ordered that an election proceed.
Workers started voting today via mail ballots. The count will be May 23rd.
The Game Workers Alliance came on the heels of Raven QA workers entering week five of their strike. The strike began December 6, when over 60 Raven Software workers walked out in protest after Activision Blizzard laid off 12 of the studio’s quality assurance testers. The Raven QA strike was the third work stoppage since Activision Blizzard was sued in late July over sexual harassment and misconduct claims.
Raven’s workers were inspired by the union’s victory at VODEO which recognized the union voluntarily. The GAME Workers Alliance is an international movement- reflecting the international reach of the video game industry. As the GAME Workers Unite puts it
“We are an international grassroots movement and organization dedicated to unionizing the game industry. We are game workers interested in organizing with everyone who helps make games. And we mean everyone….
We build our movement through local grassroots organizing because we understand that worker power comes from the bottom up, no one can speak for workers better than themselves,… To this end we found local chapters, aid community building, develop and provide organizer training, work with existing labor unions and organizations, and share resources on an international level.
We seek to bring hope to and empower those suffering in this industry.”
Reporting Courtesy of Frank Emspak for Madison Labor Radio
Image Courtesy of TriplePoint TriplePoint on Flickr