Baldwin wrote within the letter that she “will be following the proceedings at the National Labor Relations Board and Raven Software closely. I urge you and the management at Raven Software to remain neutral in the coming NLRB election in order to allow your employees to decide their representatives for themselves.”
Activision Blizzard confirmed receipt of the letter however declined to remark. Microsoft did not reply to remark.
Baldwin has a monitor document of being pro-labor. She’s a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), and has launched pro-worker laws in Congress.
Cornell professor of labor and employment legislation Risa Lieberwitz stated that although Sen. Baldwin “does not have direct power” within the unionization state of affairs, her letter may “bring more public attention to Activision’s conduct.”
“It is significant for a U.S. Senator to send a strong message that Activision Blizzard should conduct themselves in a way that respects workers’ rights to unionize,” Lieberwitz stated. “This could influence public opinion about Activision Blizzard, which can have a negative impact on the company’s public image and reputation.”
In the four-day listening to with the NLRB that ended Tuesday, Activision Blizzard and the employees argued over whether or not employees ought to be allowed to kind a so-called “micro union” of a number of dozen workers inside the standard assurance division. Shortly after the division introduced its intentions to unionize, Activision Blizzard introduced the testers could be redistributed across the firm and embedded into totally different departments, a truth Baldwin famous in her letter. The firm additionally argued that every one Raven workers ought to be allowed to vote on unionization. A bigger group would require extra worker votes so as to unionize, whereas the testers had already reached the wanted majority of votes inside their division.
Much of the testimony mentioned workers’ duties and whether or not high quality assurance testing was distinct sufficient from different departments. Activision argued that the testers are a part of the event and manufacturing course of, together with getting to contribute concepts to “Call of Duty” video games. It pointed to how, as of late January, testers have been moved throughout totally different departments in Raven, together with animation, artwork, audio, design, engineering and stay operations manufacturing.
A ruling from the NLRB is predicted within the subsequent a number of months.
One Raven Software high quality assurance tester instructed The Washington Post she hopes the listening to proves to the NLRB that firm leaders “really don’t know much of anything about QA’s daily duties.”
“They seem so far removed from the actual day-to-day activities,” she stated, requesting anonymity for concern of retaliation. “QA testers still primarily test the game, that is their main job description and what people applied for. But asking them to not only test the game but even working alongside developers while expecting to keep them at their current pay rate is beyond disappointing to hear from our leadership.”
Microsoft’s buy of Activision Blizzard comes with further stipulations round employees’ unionization efforts. Activision Blizzard is not allowed to voluntarily acknowledge a union or to enter right into a collective bargaining settlement with out Microsoft’s approval, in accordance to a current SEC submitting from Activision.
Lieberwitz stated that no matter Microsoft stipulating it should approve Activision employees’ unionization effort as a part of the acquisition phrases, each corporations nonetheless have to comply with the legislation, which incorporates NLRB rulings.
“If the NLRB decides that a bargaining unit of QA employees is appropriate — as petitioned for by the CWA — then Activision Blizzard and Microsoft must comply with the NLRB ruling,” she stated.