This makes the Albany QA branch the second potential union at the company, after the same department at Raven Software won its union election bid back in May. Called Game Workers Alliance (GWA) Albany, the new union issued a statement last night (July 19) via Twitter:
“QA is currently an undervalued discipline in the games and software industries. We strive to foster work environments where we are respected and compensated for our essential role in the development process,” said the group.
“We demand an environment where our skills, ideals, & democratic decisions are valued and respected.”
Today, we announce a new union at Activision Blizzard.
QA is currently an undervalued discipline in the games and software industries. We strive to
foster work environments where we are respected and compensated for our essential role in the
development process. 1/5
— GWA Albany (@WeAreGWAAlbany) July 19, 2022
The union has been created to help the almost 20 QA workers secure a number of benefits and compensation in their workplace, including: competitive and fair compensation, better benefits, addressing disparities in titles and pay, establishing a transparent line of communication, improving work-life balance and addressing demands of “crunch” time.
Albany then asks that Activision Blizzard formally recognises its union.
Activision Blizzard made it clear with Raven Software’s unionisation efforts that it was mostly opposed to unionisation within its company, saying the effort will not help “produce world-class games.” That said, Microsoft – which is set to acquire Activision Blizzard next year – has made a “binding commitment” to remaining neutral and to not actively opposing unionisation efforts.
In a statement to The Washington Post Amanda Laven, a test analyst at Albany, said this movement took inspiration from the work achieved by Raven Software: “Raven has been a huge inspiration to us. Seeing their process, it’s been demystifying to see them do it first and have an idea of how things go and how the company might respond.
“We’ve already gotten to see someone do it in our own company, and they’ve been very forthcoming with us talking to us about what things are like and what problems they encountered. It’s been very, very helpful and inspiring.”
An Activision Blizzard spokesperson said in response that whilst the company respects Albany’s right to choose whether or not to form a union, that it believes “a direct relationship between the company and its employees is the most productive relationship,” adding that it “will be publicly and formally providing a response to the petition to the [National Labour Relations Board].”