Blizzard Albany workers successfully unionise despite Activision pushback

Activision Blizzard King walkout unionisation

Quality assurance (QA) workers at Blizzard‘s Albany-based office have officially formed a union, following several months of pushback from Activision leadership.

“We won,” announced the Albany-based Game Workers Alliance union on Twitter, after announcing their union bid in July 2022.

The successful union bid follows several months of management at Activision Blizzard trying to halt the vote. Back in August, the company was accused of taking “the low road” in an attempt to stop the union, and GWA Albany alleged that Activision Blizzard was attempting to make a “clear and conscious decision to deny us our basic labour rights.”

Last month, Activision Blizzard was accused of trying to “muzzle workers’ voices” when it made a last-minute attempt to impound the ballots cast during Albany’s unionisation vote.

Speaking to The Washington Post, Amanda Laven – a QA tester at Blizzard Albany – said it was “extremely exciting and gratifying” to pass the union vote, even though the group “knew” they would win.

Diablo 4
Diablo 4. Credit: Blizzard Entertainment.

Additionally, a spokesperson for Activision Blizzard shared the following statement with The Washington Post.

“We are considering all options, with a focus on what is best for all employees and to provide the best games for our millions of players,” it reads. “We still believe our entire Albany team should have the right to vote. This is about fundamental fairness and rights for every member of the team.”

In October, Communications Workers of America filed unfair labour practice charges against Activision Blizzard, accusing chief communications officer Lulu Cheng Meservey of “making threats to withhold raises and benefit improvements from workers who joined the union” in a company-wide Slack message.

In the same month, the National Labor Relations Board found that Activision Blizzard illegally retaliated against unionising workers by withholding their raises.

In other gaming news, quality assurance (QA) staff at ZeniMax Media have become the first workers at Microsoft to launch a union.

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