If Activision Blizzard recognizes a union, Microsoft 'will not stand in the way'

Activision logo
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

In January, QA workers at Raven Software formed the first videogame industry union at a major North American studio. The Game Workers Alliance was created following a labor rights strike that began in December, and a supermajority of employees voted in favor of it. That means it can be formalized through the US National Labor Relations Board whether it receives management recognition or not, but the union requested official voluntary recognition anyway. Activision Blizzard chose not to give it.

The union formed in the same month that Microsoft announced it was acquiring Activision Blizzard for $69 billion. As the Washington Post reports, this week 15 workers at Raven signed a letter calling on Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to give Activision Blizzard a nudge in the right direction.

The letter also takes Activision Blizzard's law firm Reed Smith to task for anti-union material on its website. "I hope that you will agree that this demeaning and insulting approach to employees who are seeking to improve their workplace should not be tolerated," the letter says.

Microsoft's corporate vice president and general counsel, Lisa Tanzi, gave a statement to the Washington Post in response, saying that the company "will not stand in the way" if Activision Blizzard's management does recognize a union. "Microsoft respects Activision Blizzard employees' right to choose whether to be represented by a labor organization and we will honor those decisions," Tanzi said.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.