Microsoft to honour outcome of Activision Blizzard union decision

"Microsoft respects Activision Blizzard employees' right to choose whether to be represented by a labour organisation"

Microsoft says it will respect the outcome of the current union drive from workers at Activision Blizzard, no matter the outcome.

The union of Raven Software staff – called the Game Workers Alliance (GWA) – formed at the start of this year and gave studio owner Activision Blizzard time to recognise it, which the company failed to do so. This led the GWA to file a union election with the National Labour Relations Board (NLRB).

Now 15 Raven Software workers, which is one of the studios developing Call Of Duty: Warzone, have signed a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella asking the company to encourage Activision Blizzard to voluntarily recognise the GWA. As reported by The Washington Post, Microsoft has responded to the letter saying it “will not stand in the way” of Activision Blizzard recognising the union.


“Microsoft respects Activision Blizzard employees’ right to choose whether to be represented by a labour organisation and we will honour those decisions,” said Lisa Tanzi, Microsoft’s corporate vice president and general counsel.

Call Of Duty: Warzone.
Call Of Duty: Warzone. Credit: Activision Blizzard.

Parts of Raven Software’s letter to Microsoft were also published by The Washington Post, with signatures denouncing Activision Blizzard’s retained law firm Reed Smith, as it was revealed last month that the firm had a PowerPoint slide titled “types of employees unions exploit.”

This slide stated that unions apparently exploit “lazy, non-productive, or inefficient” workers, “whiner and complainer[s]” and those “overqualified for [their] current job position.”

According to a tweet from Jessica Gonzalez, a founder and organiser of the GWA, the PowerPoint slide was turned into a mousepad in conjunction with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), a labour union that helped form the GWA.

“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,” read the letter from Raven Software staff.


Activision offices
Activision offices. Credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images.

In response, director of corporate communications at Reed Smith, Phill McGowan, said “the content of this presentation was created for a workshop in 2013 by lawyers who no longer work at the firm.”

“It does not reflect the way our firm thinks about the rights of employees and employers. These slides have no bearing on the pending CWA representation petition, and were not prepared or used by the lawyers representing Activision Blizzard.”

The group of Raven Software workers in the GWA union are currently waiting for a judge’s ruling on what “the eligible group of workers who can vote to unionise should be,” according to The Washington Post.

Activision Blizzard has been embroiled in a workplace conditions scandal since last year, with Raven Software staff ending a strike over working conditions this January.

In other news, a UK teenager is suspected of hacking Microsoft, Nvidia and Ubisoft.

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