Activision Blizzard Withheld Raises from Unionizing Workers

The National Labor Relations Board found that Activision Blizzard withheld raises from Raven's QA testers, attributing this to their union activity.

Activision Blizzard withheld raises from QA testers at its subsidiary, Raven Software – the studio that mostly works on Call of Duty, explaining this by the tester's union activity.

That's according to the investigation by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that found out that testers at Activision Blizzard were offered a pay raise of up to $20 an hour, while the same offer was not given to QA workers at Raven Software who voted to unionize earlier this year

Following the NLRB's findings, Activision Blizzard and the QA workers at Raven Software, who have organized as the Game Workers Alliance (GWA), will continue negotiating, and if the parties cannot agree on terms, the NLRB may issue a complaint or take the case to court if the publisher refuses to settle. Although the latter outcome is unlikely.

Representatives of Activision Blizzard claim that the decision not to raise the salaries of Raven's QA testers complies with laws under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), according to which employees who are in the process of negotiations cannot receive unscheduled salary increases.

"Due to legal obligations under the [NLRA] requiring employers not to grant wage increases while an election was pending, we could not institute new pay initiatives at Raven because they would be brand new kinds of compensation changes, which had not been planned beforehand," Activision Blizzard spokesperson said in a statement. "This rule that employers should not grant these kinds of wage increases has been the law for many years."

Activision Blizzard has been trying to prevent the creation of the union for a long time. Raven employees announced the formation of a union in January 2022 and wanted Activision Blizzard to voluntarily recognize it, although at the time the company did not cooperate with the group.

The employees then applied to the US National Labor Relations Administration to seek official confirmation and in May, the union became legally recognized by the National Labor Relations Board.

Following the group's successful unionization, in June, Activision recognized the union and announced that it would begin negotiations with it.

"Despite their best efforts, Activision’s constant attempts to undermine its workers and impede our union election have failed. We’re glad the NLRB recognized that Activision acted illegally when they unequally enforced policies by withholding company-wide benefits and wage increases from Raven workers for organizing," the GWA said.

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