Axios is reporting that Activision will begin collective bargaining negotiations with members of the new Raven Software QA Union.
This goes against their previous stance of not recognizing the union. Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox and eventual head of Activision, said that Xbox would recognize the union once the merger was complete.
In a memo obtained by Axios, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said, “While first labor contracts can take some time to complete, we will meet CWA [Communications Workers of America] leaders at the bargaining table and work toward an agreement that supports the success of all our employees.”
The union vote passed a couple of weeks ago with 19 votes for and three against. It came at a time when the National Labor Relations Board filed an official complaint against Activision. The NLRB alleged that Activision illegally threatened staff regarding their right to organize.
Elsewhere in the industry, Nintendo is facing the same allegations of preventing a worker’s right to unionize.
The Raven Software QA union is one of three unions in the gaming industry. Vodeo Games formed the first game studio union in North America last December. Earlier this week, BioWare QA contractors at Keywords Studios unanimously voted to form a union.
In December, the road to unionization for the Raven Software QA team began after Activision laid-off members. This came in the face of promises of full-time employment.
The initial reaction by QA members was to walk out in protest. “This wasn’t a normal end,” a source told Kotaku when the story broke. “They just decided to gut the studio. I’ve heard so far that they’ve lost 1/3 of their QA and it is still ongoing into next week.”
After months of organization and illegal action from their parent company, it seems like Raven QA and Activision will sit at the table to negotiate.