Activision QA workers form the biggest union in the games industry

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Activision QA employees have reportedly formed the largest union in the games industry with more members than any other studio so far. The CWA (Communications Workers of America) has put out a press release announcing the formation of Activision’s workers union by Quality Assurance staff that work at the publisher’s many different studios.

Some 600-strong, Activision’s game employee union is the latest and largest union in the games industry to form. Though it very likely won’t be the last. It’s also not the first union out of Microsoft’s subsidiaries. Around 300 employees at Zenimax formed a certified union with the CWA back in 2023. Confirmation of Activision union members being officially recognized is likely a huge sigh of relief for other games industry employees. With more unions in the industry forming, it’s likely to become a larger trend and lead to even more unions. Giving employees further protections thanks to union representation to speak on behalf of those employees in more sensitive situations.

As Engadget notes, Microsoft agreed to allow and support employees’ desire to unionize. And thereby not stepping in and trying to dissuade employees from Activision’s studios it has kept its promise.

Microsoft agreed to respect Activision employees becoming union members as part of its acquisition deal

It might seem like a long time ago given how long Microsoft had been fighting to acquire Activision Blizzard. But after more than two years and lots of time speaking with regulators, Microsoft was officially given approval for the deal in the UK, following EU approval quite a few months prior. Microsoft’s agreement to more or less stay out of the way of employees seeking to unionize was part of its efforts to gain approval for the acquisition.

It had also made numerous other agreements to appease regulators. Who at first had much opposition to Microsoft’s attempted buyout. This included handing over cloud gaming rights of Activision Blizzard titles to Ubisoft, among other things. The union is just the latest example of Microsoft making good on some of its promises. However, it’s also not without complications.

This is a good thing for Activision QA employees. But it comes at a time when thousands of other employees from across the industry have endured layoffs.

Employees are excited about their future careers

The unionization is a big win for games industry employees and the excitement that comes from this situation is made clear by those in the union. QA is supposed to be a way for people to get their foot in the door at a game studio. But that doesn’t appear to always be the case. “Quality Assurance roles are described as a way to get your foot in the door in the video game industry, but the truth is, at best, we get the internal job posting before the public does,” said Kara Fannon, a Functional QA Tester 1 and member of Activision Quality Assurance United-CWA.

Kara continues by stating that employees are “ready to grow their careers” at the company and they believe a union contract is the best way forward on that path.

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