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Activision QA Workers Vote to Form Largest US Video Game Worker Union to Date

A group of roughly 600 quality assurance (QA) workers at Activision under Microsoft have successfully voted to unionize with the Communication Workers of America (CWA), becoming Activision Quality Assurance United.


Activision Quality Assurance United is the first to unionize at Activision since the company was acquired by Microsoft, and the largest video game worker union in the United States. It incorporates central QA workers at Activision offices in Texas, Minnesota, and California, and is distinct from other recent QA unions under Microsoft such as the
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and groups at
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and
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.


The group has organized with the support of a CWA-Microsoft neutrality agreement
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, wherein Microsoft committed to taking a "neutral approach" toward unionizing and refrain from hindering union discussions at the company, as well as offering a streamlined process for choosing to join a union. This is notable especially in light of the hurdles faced by Raven Software and Blizzard Albany in forming their unions prior to the acquisition, as
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accused Activision Blizzard of
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.

"There was no one specific catalyst, but more so just recognizing as QA workers we often have the lowest protections and lowest pay of any workers in the industry even though our work requires expertise, skill, and is absolutely essential to the success of the companies where we work," said Tom Shelley, technical requirements specialist at Activision and member of the newly formed AQAU.

The CWA Labor Neutrality Agreement is a historic agreement and unprecedented at a tech company of Microsoft’s size

"The CWA Labor Neutrality Agreement is a historic agreement and unprecedented at a tech company of Microsoft’s size. By recognizing our union, Microsoft is making good on its promise to respect our ability to decide for ourselves about union representation. We encountered no union-busting at a time when most US companies - especially tech companies — regularly spend millions on anti-union consultants to prevent workers from speaking up for themselves. We hope this will inspire other workers to form unions and raise industry-wide expectations for pay, benefits, and respect for workers' rights."

The group expects to bargain with Microsoft over a new contract, particularly over asks such as better pay and benefits, more promotional opportunities, and a clear career development track. Currently, Zenimax QA workers are bargaining over their first contract with the company, which thus far includes agreements on subjects such as
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and
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.


Rebekah Valentine is a senior reporter for IGN. Got a story tip? Send it to [email protected].

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