Microsoft's recent acquisition of Activision – Blizzard will undoubtedly result in sweeping changes across the company. While the parent company has its work cut out, there will surely be a wave of cautious optimism among employees. One of the many stories within the saga was Raven Software letting go of a number of QA testers, resulting in a workers strike. Now, over a month and a half later, the ABK Workers Alliance has called it off.
A tweet by the group has confirmed that the strike has been called off pending the recognition of its union, the Game Workers Alliance. Once the union is recognised, it will be in the position to bring the management to the negotiating table and put forth its demands.
The Alliance has already made its mission statement known on Twitter. It calls for solidarity and transparency between employees and the management, the end of "crunch" periods in development cycles, equity in terms of compensation and career development opportunities for all departments, and a diverse work environment.
Should the Game Workers Alliance be formally recognized, it would become the first workers' union in a major game company in North America. The strike was possibly called off as a mutual agreement between the two parties in a bid to move things forward and come to a consensus on how they can work together.
From the look of things, it appears that the union will officially be recognized, but it hasn't been without a fight. In December, Activision executive Brian Bulatao sent out an email to employees, urging them not to unionize and to "consider the consequences" of partnering with the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The email was pretty self-congratulatory, and harped about all the changes that the company had been making. However, it failed to address any of the allegations levied against CEO Bobby Kotick and the board.
It remains to be seen whether the union will be officially recognized and if the management agrees to its terms. Considering the optics around the whole scenario, it's unlikely that there will be too much of a pushback. While there's a long road ahead, Activision – Blizzard employees finally have something to feel positive about.
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