business news Action Blizzard: In full takeover by Microsoft, publisher found guilty!
While Sony and Microsoft collide with statements and meetings with authorities to validate or invalidate the acquisition of Activision-Blizzard, the publisher behind Call of Duty, Diablo or even Overwatch 2 must manage its own affairs, with a still tense situation.
Video game unionization: the precedent set at Raven Software
In late 2021, Raven Software QA testers (Call of Duty Warzon) went on strike, pointing to broken promises and the dismissal of 12 people to whom Activision-Blizzard would have promised a write-up and an internalization. With the support of the ABK Workers Alliance group of employees, 60 workers stopped working, an extremely rare phenomenon in video games, and even more so in the United States. This situation was added surveys about cases of harassment, sexual assault and discrimination within the publishing house, which have also triggered investigations carried out by public bodies.
During this strike, a number of employees decided to initiate a procedure to establish an internal trade unionand this was the start of a communications war in which Activision believed that a union does not represent employees and thatdirect communication was preferred, while employees felt they had to band together to stand up to management. In May 2022, after a vote and a Evaluation by the National Labor Relations Board, the trade union Game Workers Alliance is officially born at Raven Software.
Activision Blizzard convicted of illegal action in connection with hiring and reappraisal
It was during this period that Activision granted raises, full-time jobs and a $20 hourly wage to 1,100 employees. Problem, these 1100 employees did not understand those involved in the procedure by trade union. Activision-Blizzard then ensured compliance with the law, but affected employees still appealed with this same National Labor Relations Board. They obviously did well, since The NLRB just ruled in favor of the plaintiffsand believe Activision Blizzard’s way of doing things is illegal. A situation that puts the trade union in a better position than before for the drafting of the collective agreement. The trade union naturally welcomes the decision and says:
Despite their best efforts, Activision’s constant attempts to undermine the efforts of its workers and obstruct our union elections have failed. We are pleased that the NLRB has recognized that Activision acted illegally by unevenly enforcing its policies and withholding benefits and pay increases from unionized Raven workers.
On the side of Activision-Blizzard, it is with Techrunch that we express ourselves, by again having acted within the framework of the law :
Due to legal obligations under the NLRA requiring employers not to provide pay increases while an election is in progress, we could not initiate new pay initiatives at Raven as these would be all new types of compensation changes that were not planned in advance . This rule that employers should not give these kinds of raises has been the law for many years.
The common thread: Xbox’s takeover of Activision Blizzard King
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, estimated at $68.7 billion, is not yet finished. In the US and in Europe, the authorities study the file to validate it or not. Since returning home, Sony attempts an offensive by making various arguments on the risk that this merger poses to the market, with in the pivot point the availability of the Call of Duty license on all media.
Microsoft and Sony go blow by blow with arguments about the benefits of the merger or the damage it might cause in the industry. The authorities do not want to do anything such as European Commissionwhich has decided to extend its investigative work until 08 November Next.