The management at Raven Software, the Activision Blizzard subsidiary that develops Call of Duty games, has reportedly been trying to convince its employees to vote against unionization. According to The Washington Post, the Raven management has been sending out messages and holding town hall meetings ahead of the election deadline on May 20th.
During a meeting held on April 26th, company leadership suggested that unionization might not only impede game development, but also affect promotions and benefits. After that meeting, The Post says management sent employees an email with a message that’s more direct to the point: “Please vote no.” The Raven employees the publication talked to said the company’s efforts were ineffective, though, and that they still voted yes for unionization.
This saga began late last year when Raven suddenly laid off around a third of the group’s QA testers after months of promising better compensation. Activision Blizzard workers staged a weeks-long strike in support of the QA employees, and unionization efforts started at the same time. Since then, Activision has been trying to dissuade workers from forming a union.
Activision VP of QA Chris Arends reportedly told team members in a Slack meeting that a “union doesn’t do anything to help us produce world-class games, and the bargaining process is not typically quick, often reduces flexibility, and can be adversarial and lead to negative publicity.” The National Labor Relations Board granted the quality assurance testers’ permission to hold a union vote in April, though, and workers have been sending in their ballots by mail over the past month. We’ll soon find out if Activision’s alleged union-busting efforts are effective soon enough: The NLRB will be counting the ballots via video conference on May 23rd.