When the news first broke about Microsoft’s proposed purchase of Activision Blizzard, one of the biggest questions coming from employees was whether Microsoft would allow them to unionize. That question has been answered, according to Microsoft’s corporate vice president and general counsel Lisa Tanzi.
In a statement to the Washington Post, Tanzi said that Microsoft will “[respect] Activision Blizard employees’ right to choose whether to be represented by a labor organization and we will honor those decisions.”
The Washington Post reported that earlier this week, 15 workers at Raven Software, which is a studio owned by Activision Blizzard, sent a letter to Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella asking him to encourage Activision Blizzard to recognize their union. This letter comes after Activision Blizzard chose not to recognize the union after QA workers at Raven Software formed one called the Game Workers Alliance. The union can be formalized through the U.S. National Labor Relation Board regardless of whether it receives recognition from Activision Blizzard, but the union sought voluntary recognition and did not get it.
Activision Blizzard said that if the Game Workers Alliance filed with the NLRB, the company would “respond formally to that petition promptly,” according to a statement given to PC Gamer. If the majority of Raven Software QA workers vote to ratify the union, then Activision Blizzard will be required to start bargaining with them.
There have been no reports that the Game Workers Alliance has filed with the NLRB yet. The last update on the Game Workers Alliance page is a Q&A from February. Coordinating the union has also been made more difficult after the company made an organizational shift and moved QA workers and embedded them into various teams across the studio.