Raven Software’s QA testers vote to confirm America’s first game developer union

The Raven Software QA team has officially voted in favor of unionization. 22 employees took part in the vote, 19 of whom voted in favor of unionization. This union at Raven Software is now the first union at a major game studio in North America.

Creating a union was not an easy task for the group. It took several months of working with Activision to try and shut down the move all the way. The Call of Duty publisher had emailed employees encouraging them to vote no. Additionally, Activision told employees that unionization would hinder game development and affect their chances of receiving promotions and benefits.

The organizing campaign at Raven Software began last year. After months of promises of better compensation, Activision has instead laid off a third of its QA team. In protest, the workers staged a strike that lasted a few weeks and led to the initial formation of the union.

Another motive for the union was the ongoing cultural issues present at Activision Blizzard. Whether it’s the frat boy, culture, sexual harassment allegations or discrimination issues, Activision’s top brass have been accused of fostering a negative atmosphere. In response, 1,000 Activision employees signed a letter demanding a change. The company’s response was to call the claims “distorted” and “false”.

The benefits of a union

Union recognition is great for the QA team at Raven Software. Unions help employees gain more rights and improve things like minimum wages, working hours, and length of paid vacation. They also promote equality and equal pay.

Unfortunately, the video game industry has very few. This gives companies most of the power and ability to treat their employees unfairly. Those affected can take legal action, but that’s a huge undertaking given the gap in available legal resources for each party. A union gives workers a voice to force change on a larger scale.