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An appeal made by Activision Blizzard that blocked Blizzard Albany’s QA staff from unionising has been rejected by the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). GIbiz report the publisher tried to argue that the entire staff of Blizzard Albany should vote on the unionisation effort rather than just the development studio’s QA team, but the NLRB disagree.
The appeal was rejected on November 30th, as the NLRB found Activision Blizzard had raised “no substantial issues warranting review”. The NLRB’s decision read: “The testers have a separate department and separate supervision; perform a distinct function, utilizing distinct skills; and have notably lower wages than the excluded employees.” They also noted that the QA team are part of “an administrative hierarchy that is completely separate” from employees excluded from the unionisation vote. You can read the full decision, along with other documents relating to the unionisation vote, here.
An Activision Blizzard spokesperson told GIbiz: “We still believe our entire Albany team should have the right to vote. This is about fundamental fairness for every member of the team, given the close, collaborative way that Blizzard Albany operates, and ensuring that every employee has the right to choose.”
This is Activision Blizzard’s second attempt to thwart the QA testers’ vote, as they made an earlier attempt back in October, which was also turned away by the NLRB. Activision Blizzard made similar moves to block a vote by Raven Software’s QA staff earlier this year. The publisher initially rejected their staff’s request to unionise, who then approached the National Labor Relations Board to become involved. The appeal against Raven QA staff efforts was also denied by the NLRB. Raven’s QA team later voted to unionise by a vast majority, becoming the first notable such union at a US-based studio.
Activision Blizzard are currently the subject of a number of legal actions, labour disputes and allegations of workplace harassment. Rock Paper Shotgun will continue to write about these issues, as well as covering Activision Blizzard games as part of our commitment to cover subjects of interest to our readers. The latest news can always be found under our Activision Blizzard tag.