Activision’s first bargaining session with union seemed contentious

During its first day of bargaining with Activision Blizzard, the Game Workers Alliance allege that the game publisher made several ridiculous demands while failing to offer anything to the union in return. According to the GWA, Activision Blizzard allegedly wouldn’t even attend the bargaining meeting unless the union paid for its workers’ missed time, which it did in a “show of good faith.” 

GWA was formed by QA testers at Raven Software (Call of Duty: Warzone), who unionized earlier this year. Those QA employees have been bargaining to improve working conditions at the developer, but as the GWA reveals, the attempts made are being met with resistance. 

Should the Union’s account of events be believed, it appears Activision Blizzard was unwilling to compromise on any topics relevant to the union. Instead, its company representatives seemed more interested in presenting bargaining terms that would skew towards management’s favor. 

Of the various proposals presented to Activision Blizzard, the company failed to provide definitive responses to most of them. What ones it did respond to, such as the proposal for a “responsible union-Company relationship,” were allegedly denied.

As GWA writes, Activision Blizzard didn’t allow permanent remote work for bargaining employees. However, the Union noted that other Activision Blizzard employees have been granted that permission on a permanent basis. 

Activision Blizzard brought two of its own proposals to the table, but they seemed to prioritize the company’s interests over the workers. Its Grievance and Arbitration proposal would allow the publisher to file complaints against the Union. Meanwhile, the Management Rights clause would allow Activision Blizzard to outsource jobs to third-party and change Raven’s work hours. 

When the Union presented a similar Grievance and Arbitration proposal of its own to Activision Blizzard, no response was given.

In early October, it was reported that the National Labor Relations Board found that Activision Blizzard was withholding raises from organized workers. “Without a settlement,” wrote the Union, “the Board will prosecute the company for withholding [the raises].”

“Although the Company’s continued intransigence is unwelcome at the bargaining table, the Bargaining Committee is confident that through our continued solidarity, mobilization, bargaining, as well as the Company’s illegal bargaining posture, we will prevail,” concluded the Union.

Game Developer has reached out to Activision Blizzard for comment, and will update when a response is given. 

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