Activision-Blizzard has been hard at work reducing the cost of labor in their games by increasing automation, but that also means they are putting many employees out of a job. Those who were fired and those who left on their own accord have found themselves without much to do after finding it difficult to find similar work outside game development, leading them into wage stagnation or unemployment.
Activision-Blizzard has been in the news for a while now. They have been promoting over a thousand QA testers and bumping their pay, but not the ones unionizing. Read more in detail here: activision blizzard stock.
Activision-Blizzard stated last night that it is transitioning 1100 quality assurance testers from contract to full-time status, with compensation beginning at $20 per hour. The decision is bittersweet since these statistics specifically omit QA personnel at Raven Software, who are in the process of organizing after Activision mistreated them and laid them off at the end of 2021.
“For nearly a year, ABK Workers Alliance has advocated for our Quality Assurance employees and raised awareness surrounding the issues they face,” the ABK Workers Alliance tweeted. “We are overjoyed to announce that today, ABK has declared that 1,100 Quality Assurance testers will be converted to full time employment and will receive a pay raise, effectively making their wages $20/hour. A year ago, we made a promise to make A Better ABK. Little by little, we are accomplishing that goal. This is the power of collective action. When you work with your co-workers for the betterment of your workplace, the impossible becomes possible.”
An attorney for the National Labor Relations Board told GameDeveloper.com that compensation overhauls in the middle of unionization is complicated as granting raises to unionizing employees could be deemed as influencing workers, but withholding raises could be seen as retaliatory. Indeed, Activision-Blizzard insists that “[d]ue to [its] legal obligations under the National Labor Relations Act, [it is] prohibited from making new kinds of compensation changes at Raven at this time.”
In giving the credit to organizers, CODE-CWA and the Game Workers Alliance blasted Activision-Blizzard, which has already been employing overt unionbusting tactics against its workers for almost a year now, such that it’s not a stretch to see this as more. Here’s the GWA’s statement:
“[Activision-Blizzard’s] decision to exclude us – the workers of @WeAreGWA – is their attempt to divide workers & undermine our right to unionize. It is unsurprising, but nevertheless disappointing that Activision has chosen to exclude Raven Software QA workers, who have been at the forefront demanding better pay & benefits, from the company-wide wage increase. The company’s assertion that the NLRA prevents @Activision from including Raven QA workers is simply a ploy to punish us for choosing to stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow workers as @WeAreGWA. Activision’s announcement is further evidence of the need for ALL workers at Activision Blizzard to have a protected voice on the job. We strongly urge @ATVI_AB to rectify this situation & respect our protected right to organize under the law.”
Activision-Blizzard is a company that has been in the gaming industry for over 40 years. They have recently decided to promote over a thousand QA testers, but they are not bumping their pay. The reason why is because of the unionizing efforts by some employees. Reference: activision games.
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