600 Activision QA workers just formed the biggest videogame union in the US

First reported by The Verge, 600 Activision QA workers have formed a new union at the publisher. It was organized through the Communications Workers of America (CWA), like other unions at the company, and this new union is now the largest in the American gaming industry, surpassing the 300-person Zenimax Workers United, a fellow CWA union at another Microsoft subsidiary.

Microsoft notably entered into a labor neutrality agreement with the CWA in 2022 as union organizing efforts across the industry, but especially at Activision Blizzard-owned studios, were getting into full swing. It was an important victory for the CWA, but also a strategic move by Microsoft in its years-long (and ultimately successful) campaign to seal the deal on its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

That agreement seems to have helped these Activision QA workers quickly and cleanly form their union at the company, but it’s not like the house Bill Gates built is a worker’s paradise or anything just yet: this successful union effort comes a little over a month after the stunning layoffs of 1,900 Activision Blizzard employees by Microsoft.

Still, it’s heartening to see continued successful union organizing in the industry, especially since union protections are one of the most effective bulwarks against mass layoffs that workers can pursue. I also do feel like I gotta hand it to Microsoft here in the face of how other massive companies are responding to union activity, like Amazon, SpaceX, and Trader Joe’s arguing that the National Labor Relations Board is unconstitutional

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