Polygon is reporting that Activision Blizzard QA workers in the United States are being converted to full-time employees. Mike Ybarra, the company’s chief operating officer, made the announcement with staff on Thursday.
Jason Schreier said in a tweet that a total of 1,100 members of the quality assurance team are going to make the move from contract workers to full-time employees. They will make a starting wage of at least $20 an hour.
The news comes months after Activision Blizzard QA workers were laid off at Raven Software, best known for their work on Call of Duty: Warzone. Layoffs led to both a strike by the entire QA department and the formation of a union.
In emails obtained by Polygon, both Ybarra and Josh Taub, COO for Activision Publishing, commented on the news.
During the last two years, Call of Duty has expanded and evolved. Our development cycles have gone from an annual release to an “always on” model. In response to greater engagement, we’ve increased our live services business across all platforms. Our offerings now encompass season passes, operators, and the awesome content available in our stores. We’ve also grown our workforce and support across our studios, along with exciting new plans on mobile.
In light of these changes, and as we look to our ambitious plans for the future, we are further refining how our development teams work together. QA is, and continues to be, critical to our development success.
I’m pleased to announce that we are converting all US-based temporary and contingent QA workers to full time employees (FTEs). We are increasing their hourly rate to a minimum of $20/hr and providing access to full company benefits, and they will be eligible to participate in the company’s bonus program.
This change follows the conversion of nearly 500 temporary and contingent workers to permanent full-time employees at Activision Publishing’s studios, and other ongoing conversions that have taken place in the past few months.
As Call of Duty evolves, we anticipate periods where the workload will fluctuate and exceed our expanded team’s bandwidth. With this in mind, we’re adding extra support for our team from external partners. This is a long-standing studio and industry practice that will give us more flexibility and capacity to support the business needs and enable our internal teams to focus on the results that most impact our business.Source – Josh Taub via email obtained by Polygon
While this is good news for Activision Blizzard QA workers, Taub’s comments don’t acknowledge or discuss the company’s failure to recognize the Raven Software union.
Ybarra’s email mentions that Activision Blizzard QA workers becoming full-time employees includes those based in Irvine, Austin, and Albany. “Some time ago QA leadership started shifting their approach to staffing the team, converting more temporary and contract workers (TEAs) to full-time employees (FTEs), and using partners to support short-term spikes in workload,” he said. “Today, this shift in approach is culminating in a conversion of all of the remaining U.S.-based TEAs/contractors in QA – more than 90 people across Irvine, Austin and Albany – to FTEs. We’re also increasing the minimum hourly rate for QA to $20/hour, and they will be eligible for our bonus program and increased benefits.”