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Activision exec tries to dissuade workers from unionizing in a leaked Slack message

Since a bunch of 34 high quality assurance testers at Raven Software program voted to unionize earlier this month, the studio’s dad or mum firm, Activision Blizzard, has been making strikes that can undermine that help and make it tougher for staff to arrange. This morning, Activision VP of QA Chris Arends despatched the clearest message but about the place executives stand on the unionization effort, and (spoiler) it is firmly in opposition to.

In an inside, locked Slack channel on Monday morning, Arends requested himself six questions concerning the potential union and supplied solutions for workers from Activision’s standpoint, as shared on Twitter by union organizer Jessica Gonzalez. Staff had been unable to answer the message. Every reply diminished the advantages of unionization, however the fourth immediate provided essentially the most specific takedown of the group course of. It reads as follows: 

We heard that the union will shield workers and supply workers with job safety?

Job safety right here at ABK rests with our capability to supply epic leisure for our followers. A union would not do something to assist us produce world-class video games, and the bargaining course of shouldn’t be sometimes fast, typically reduces flexibility, and may be adversarial and result in unfavourable publicity. All of this might damage our capability to proceed creating nice video games.

The fifth reply argued that union-driven bargaining takes too lengthy to be efficient, stating the plain within the course of: “A unionized firm can’t act rapidly by itself if the union doesn’t agree with its place.” The ultimate reply reminded workers that they do not should vote in favor of the union when an election takes place.

On Twitter, Gonzalez known as the put up “unhappy.”

That is the most recent transfer from Activision designed to halt momentum on the unionization course of at Raven. Simply three days after workers introduced they’d gathered a supermajority of signatures required to unionize underneath the identify Recreation Employees Alliance, Raven head Brian Raffel revealed a reorganization plan that breaks up the studio’s QA division, shifting workers to disparate groups.

Communications Employees of America, which is backing GWA, mentioned on Twitter that the shuffle was “nothing greater than a tactic to thwart Raven QA staff who’re exercising their proper to arrange.”

Activision additionally did not voluntarily acknowledge GWA, which suggests they will have to hunt a vote by way of the NLRB, a course of that may take years. Moreover, Activision is pushing for the vote to incorporate all workers at Raven, relatively than solely QA staff, lowering the potential for achievement.

Arends’ Slack message — attempting to persuade workers that unions will make their works lives slower and crappier — falls in step with Activision’s earlier ways. 

Activision Blizzard is presently the topic of intense scrutiny from a number of angles. GWA would be the first union at a AAA sport growth studio in North America, doubtlessly setting the stage for extra group throughout the business. Plus, Activision Blizzard is the topic of a lawsuit and a number of investigations into stories of systemic gender discrimination and sexual harassment on the studio, with incidents allegedly courting again a long time. 

And eventually, Microsoft is within the course of of shopping for Activision Blizzard, Raven Software program and all, in a deal price $69 billion. It’s going to be the most important acquisition in online game historical past and it marks the business’s period of consolidation. At some point after information of the acquisition went dwell, Activision told the SEC that there have been no unionization efforts underway at its studios, although within the months earlier than, executives instructed Raven workers to “consider the consequences” of signing union playing cards.

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