A video game studio called “Proletariat” refuses to recognize a union, the company is accused of using anti-union practices


Activision Blizzard once again appears to be blocking the unification of one of its studios. This time, the problem is about Spellbreak’s former developer, Proletariat. The video game studio is set to unionize with the help of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), but Activision Blizzard released a statement saying it will not recognize the union until a new official vote is obtained. has not yet been made to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) of the United States. The CWA said it was part of a strategy by Activision Blizzard to discourage workers’ organization.

Proletariat, whose name is a term designating the working class, was acquired by Activision Blizzard last summer to participate in the development of the future World of Warcraft expansion, Dragonflight. After the release of Dragonflight, the Proletariat workers announced their intention to unionize at the end of December. If recognized, Proletariat would be Activision Blizzard’s third union and the first formed by all workers, not just the studio’s quality assurance department. The Proletariat Workers Alliance (PWA) wants “the Proletariat to recognize the union and negotiate in good faith”.

The Proletariat Workers’ Alliance took these steps in collaboration with the Communications Workers of America (CWA). But the leadership of the Proletariat has only published its official response in which it rejects the demands of the workers. Activision Blizzard and Proletariat management shared a statement on the Proletariat studio website on January 9, 2023. that many employees prefer an anonymous vote and that he has filed a request with the NLRB to obtain that vote.

On December 27, 2022, C filed a petition to exclusively represent certain Proletariado employees as part of their union. Since then, we have realized that many of our employees prefer to have an anonymous vote. To that end, we filed our formal position with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) earlier today, and requested an anonymous voting process. “As well as being a fair option, it also allows employees to get all the information and different points of view,” studio management wrote in the statement.

Activision Blizzard and Proletariat went on to explain the reasoning behind their action, saying it was to ensure that all voices were reasonably heard: Proletariat’s leadership is and always has been supportive of workers. In fact, the name Proletariat derives from the founders’ dissatisfaction as industrial workers. They want everyone to share in the success and ownership of the studio, and to be treated fairly. This includes everyone from senior to new developers, whether managers or individual contributors, across all disciplines that make up the company.

In a statement provided by GameSpot, a Blizzard spokesperson said: Shortly after the CWA petitioned for union elections at Proletariat, some employees said they felt pressured to sign union cards, not they know enough about what they are signing and what it is. meaning when they signed. Due to this fact, we strongly believe that anonymous vote is the fairest option. Many employees request this because it gives them an opportunity to gather facts and ideas about an important decision without any outside pressure.

The CWA disagreed with Activision Blizzard’s position and decision on the matter, accusing the company of using an anti-union action plan it had already implemented in other cases. The group has been accused of using union-busting tactics in its negotiations with its subsidiaries Raven Software and Blizzard Albany, which voted to unionize. However, the 57 unionized workers obtained the approval of an influential personality: the American senator Elizabeth Warren. On Twitter, Warren – senior senator from Massachusetts, where the Proletariat is based – said she was firmly on the side of the union.

To the workers of Proletariat Boston, I am with you as you organize [le Communications Workers of America] to form a union and fight for benefits and fair working conditions. When workers organize, workers win, he wrote. The CWA has also voiced its disapproval: our Proletariat leaders and Activision management have refused our demands for neutrality talks and are forcing us to go through an NLRB election, even though the big majority of our bargaining unit signed cards. not in favor of the workers.

Their actions this week are from the anti-union playbook used by Activision and many others,” the CWA added in a statement. If Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard clears legal hurdles, other studios seeking unionization within Activision Blizzard may have an easier time ahead. In fact, Microsoft entered into a labor neutrality agreement with the CWA last year that would make it easier, not harder, for employees to join or form unions, if the hiring goes ahead.

Last week, QA (Quality Assurance) testers at ZeniMax were successfully unionized after Microsoft voluntarily recognized ZeniMax Workers United. Microsoft became more open to unions, leading the CWA to support Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Source: Proletariat

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See also

Activision Blizzard is trying to prevent a union vote at its Albany offices, the company believes game development is different from any other form of work

While waiting for Activision Blizzard to recognize their union, workers of its Raven QA branch have ended their strike. Microsoft’s acquisition could complicate this process

Activision Blizzard employees win union vote despite employer pressure

Activision Blizzard illegally denied raises to union workers, unions council says

Activision Blizzard reportedly sent an anti-union message before the voting deadline, ‘Please vote no,’ company management allegedly told workers in an email

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