It hasn’t been a week since Raven Software quality assurance (QA) workers announced their intention to form a union and management may already be trying to stop them. Raven Software has seemingly responded to that announcement by telling employees that the QA team would be directly integrated into various departments throughout the company, according to an email reviewed by Upcomer on Monday.
Brian Raffel, Head of Raven Software, announced that the QA team would “embed directly” with various teams across the studio, in the email reviewed by Upcomer. Raffel went on to say that the studio needs to “tighten integration and coordination” across the studio as Call of Duty: Warzone continues to expand. Raven Software is the primary developer on Activision Blizzard’s majorly popular battle royale.
“This announcement, which came three days after Raven QA workers publicly requested recognition of their union – @WeAreGWA (CWA) – is nothing more than a tactic to thwart Raven QA workers who are exercising their right to organize,” reads a tweet from the Communication Workers of America, who helped the Raven QA workers organize.
When Management uses meaningless buzzwords like ‘alignment, ‘synergy,’ and ‘reorganization,’ they are sending a message to workers: ‘we make all the decisions, we have all the power.’
— CODE-CWA (@CODE_CWA) January 25, 2022
Raven Software QA workers work to unionize
At least 60 workers at Raven Software had walked off the job late last year after members of the QA team were dismissed at the end of their contracts. Workers went on strike for nearly seven weeks while demanding Raven Software restore the employment status of their former colleagues. There were 27 of 34 QA workers who voted to publicly support the union. Workers announced that the strike had ended “pending the recognition of our union.”
The QA workers are currently waiting for Raven Software management to recognize their union. If the studio leads choose not to, workers can go to the National Labor Relations Board and force a vote to have the union recognized. Employees across Raven Software and Activision Blizzard are worried that this restructuring is an attempt to prevent workers from going in that direction by splitting them up throughout the company.
“This news still really concerns me as it comes on the heels of Raven QA asking to unionize, immediately afterward they are being asked to embed,” Activision Blizzard employee Valentine Powell tweeted, “which has the potential to dilute their ability to unionize cohesively.”
Activision Blizzard was at the center of the games industry, once again, after Microsoft announced that it was in the midst of acquiring the publishing giant earlier this month. Many have hoped that the acquisition would mean a change in how the company has handled its multiple discrimination lawsuits. The deal won’t close until 2023, at the earliest, so senior management at Activision Blizzard may not change until then.