Update: Activision has provided an official statement regarding the NLRB ruling:
"We are disappointed that a decision that could significantly impact the future of our entire studio will be made by fewer than 10% of our employees. We believe a direct relationship with team members is the best path to achieving individual and company goals. While we respect the NLRB process, we are reviewing legal options regarding a potential appeal."
Original Story: As reported by the Washington Post, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Raven Software's 21-person Quality Assurance unit can move forward with a vote to unionize.
Activision Blizzard had previously contested the move with the argument that any potential union should encompass all of the roughly 230 employees across the divisions of Raven Software, one of the developers behind the popular Call of Duty series.
The NLRB rejected that logic, and all full and part-time QA workers at Raven have until May 20 to return their ballots, with a count taking place on May 23. Raven studio head Brian Raffel indicated to staff that the company would host a town hall regarding the process.
Members of Raven QA initially walked out in December to protest the company not renewing the contracts of 11 QA workers, a significant portion of the unit, and they were later joined by members of other Activision Blizzard studios.
Raven QA employees formed a union, the Game Workers Alliance, in January and subsequently ended their strike. Absent voluntary recognition by Activision Blizzard, the process proceeded under NLRB oversight.
We are pleased that after reviewing the evidence, the National Labor Relations Board rejected Raven Software management’s attempts to undermine our efforts to form a union. It’s now time for Raven management to stop trying to prevent us from exercising our rights.April 23, 2022
Earlier this month, Activision Blizzard converted 1,000 part-time QA employees to full time and raised the base pay of QA employees across all of its studios except Raven. The NLRB prohibits giving benefits or pay increases to employees in the midst of a union drive, an attempt to prevent employers from using such measures to sway an election.
All the same, the timing of the company-wide move was certainly unfortunate for Raven's QA employees. If the union drive is successful, this will no doubt be a high priority for them in negotiating their first contract.