Biggest gaming union in the U.S. formed.

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Activision Quality Assurance Department Forms Largest Gaming Union in U.S.

An estimated 600 workers at Activision Publishing’s quality assurance department have formed the biggest union for gaming in the U.S. With the help of the Communications Workers of America, the employees voted and certified the results on Friday, forming the Activision Quality Assurance United – CWA union. Quality assurance workers test games for bugs and they’re often the entry level for getting jobs as game developers.

Union Formation and Microsoft Acquisition

Previously, the CWA reached a labor neutrality agreement in 2022 with Microsoft, which now owns the company with its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Tom Shelley, a technical requirements specialist and one of Activision Quality Assurance United’s organizers, told the Verge that the labor neutrality agreement and Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard last year made their goals of unionizing easier to accomplish.

Microsoft recognized the union and previously recognized a union of 300 QA workers at ZeniMax Online. Activision Blizzard also has unions at Blizzard in Albany and Raven Software in Wisconsin. All of this is happening at a time when the game industry is seeing record layoffs — 8,000 so far this year and 10,500 in 2023.

The workers are spread out across California, Texas, and Minnesota. All told, the CWA represents more than 1,000 Microsoft workers. Workers have been organizing at Activision since 2021. At that time, the state of California sued (in a now settled case) for widespread sexual misconduct.

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