Video game workers at Microsoft and Activision are taking steps to unionize

Amanda Levine, a quality assurance employee who was involved in the studio’s union campaign, said workers were frustrated that the company had tried to stop the union election on the grounds that it involved only quality assurance workers and not the entire studio. The National Labor Relations Board rejected Activision’s attempts to stop union elections at its Wisconsin studio on similar grounds, but the company has appealed to the Labor Council in that case as well.

“It’s just a stalling tactic,” Lavigne said in an interview before the votes were counted.

An Activision spokesperson said that the company’s New York and Wisconsin operations were “very different” in their set up and that it believed the entire Albany studio should be eligible to vote. The spokesperson said the company is “considering various legal options,” including seeking to overturn the election.

Activision workers seeking to unionize could find the company more receptive in the future.

In June, Microsoft announced an agreement with Communications Workers of America under which it pledged to remain neutral if any of Activision’s US employees sought to unionize after its acquisition was completed. Activision has about 7,000 employees in the country, most of whom are eligible to unionize.

Microsoft had a motive for seeking the neutrality agreement: the politically powerful Telecom Workers’ Union raised questions about the acquisition, which regulators were scrutinizing. The union said its concerns about the takeover were resolved after it reached a neutrality agreement.

The company hinted at the time that it would extend the neutrality agreement to existing Microsoft employees, saying it was willing to “build on” the deal. The union primarily tested this proposition when it sought to organize quality assurance workers at ZeniMax, and Microsoft followed suit.

Microsoft may have had an additional reason to take a neutral stance. Showing it has a healthy relationship with organized workers could help the company navigate the takeover under a union-friendly Biden administration as scrutiny of the deal intensifies.

As if to underscore the point, union president Chris Shelton met with the FTC chairwoman in October and urged regulators not to block the deal.

Karen’s method Contribute to the preparation of reports.

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