Following investigations, the National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) has found that Activision Blizzard withheld raises for the QA testers at Raven Software campaigning to form a union.
Per The Washington Post, Activision Blizzard and the QA testers from Raven Software will now continue on with their negotiations to agree a collective bargaining agreement.
However, if the two parties can not settle upon an agreement, the NLRB can issue a complaint against Activision Blizzard. Another option would be for the NLRB to prosecute the case before a federal judge should the company refuse to settle, although this is deemed unlikely.
Former NLRB chairman Wilma Liebman stated this news was “a very preliminary win for the union”, noting it gave the QA testers “a little bit of leverage” going forward.
“Its part of their tactics, you know, hit them wherever they can, to put pressure on the company in order to reach an agreement with them and to stop violating the law.”
In response to these findings, Activision Blizzard spokesperson Rich George gave the following statement:
“Due to legal obligations under the [National Labour Relations Act] 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 [sic] new kinds of compensation changes, which had not been planned beforehand.
“This rule that employers should not grant these kinds of wage increases has been the law for many years.”
Activision Blizzard declined to comment when contacted by Eurogamer.
Unionisation efforts within Activision Blizzards Raven Software subsidiary started all the way back in January, following strike action that December. This was in reaction to the firing of 12 members of the developers QA team.
Eventually, in May, the vote to unionise was won, despite Activision Blizzards ongoing anti-unionisation efforts, which included sending emails asking recipients to “please vote no”.