Employee-led unionization efforts at Activision-Blizzard get Microsoft approval

Kareem Anderson

Even after bidding $95 a share to try and appease Activision Blizzard stockholders for a company buyout, Microsoft is attempting to do a similar thing for the workers there by offering its support for an employee-led unionization effort. While the company may not be ready to create posters or condone walkouts, Microsoft has given Axios the following statement regarding the unionization efforts occurring at one of Activision Blizzard’s gaming studios, Raven Software:

Microsoft will not stand in the way if Activision-Blizzard recognizes a union. Microsoft respects Activision Blizzard employees’ right to choose whether to be represented by a labor organization and we will honor those decisions.

Microsoft’s wording, while very deliberate and cautious, comes six years after it embarked on a similar effort to defuse its own looming unionization efforts by subcontractors at Lionbridge Technologies.

Sadly, despite Lionbridge Technologies along with the help of Temporary Workers of America (TWA) negotiated terms for paid leave, parental leave and raises, the supplier eventually laid off all union employees roughly two months after finalizing the first contract for temp workers.

As it stands in the Activision Blizzard case, the publisher has already failed to recognize the union effort by quality assurance (QA) workers behind the Call of Duty studio, by the proposed January deadline and are actively working against the process with a union-busting complaint levied against it.

As reported last week, Microsoft is optimistic that a finalized acquisition of Activision Blizzard could happen by early summer of 2023 which leaves the publisher and those looking to unionize about a year and half to sort things out.