Blizzard Albany QA testers vote unanimously to unionize

On Friday, Blizzard Albany’s QA testers, formerly Vicarious Visions, voted unanimously to unionize. The move comes after months of attempts by Activision Blizzard owners to sabotage the union and makes QA testers, under the name Game Workers Alliance Albany, the second team to unionize at the publisher.

The National Labor Relations Board said there were 18 eligible voters in the election, 14 of whom voted yes for the union and no one voted against. GWA Albany is partnered with the largest union Communications Workers Of America.

“With this win, we stand up for each other because we care deeply about our work and the games we make,” Blizzard Albany tester Amanda Deep said in a statement. “Organizing has empowered us all to fight for the dignity and respect that every worker deserves on the job.”

“We are considering all options, focusing on what is best for all employees and on delivering the best games to our millions of players,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said in a statement provided to Polygon. “We still believe our entire Albany team should have the right to vote. It’s about fairness and basic rights for every team member.”

Activision Blizzard had argued that all Blizzard Albany employees, not just quality assurance staff, should be allowed to vote on whether quality assurance staff could form a union. The NLRB rejected that argument on appeal earlier this week, writing that “testers have a separate department and separate oversight; perform a separate function, use separate skills; and have significantly lower wages than excluded employees.”

In October, the Communication Workers Of America filed an unfair labor lawsuit against Activision Blizzard after a communications manager allegedly used an internal Slack channel to disparage the union.

Earlier this year, Activision Blizzard made the same argument that all staff should be allowed to vote as Raven Software’s quality assurance workers organized to form their own union. The arguments were also rejected by the NLRB, and Raven Software employees also later voted in favor of forming a union.

Blizzard Albany primarily works on the Diablo series, including Diablo 2 Resurrected and the upcoming Diablo 4. As Vicarious Visions, the studio’s history dates back to 1991, and their last solo development project was the Tony Hawk Pro remake. Skateboarding 1+2 in 2020. .

Meanwhile, Activision Blizzard is being acquired by Microsoft for $69 billion, pending approval from regulators in the US and EU. Microsoft said it would not block organizing efforts and in June signed a labor neutrality agreement with the CWA.

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