Raven Software is launching a vote, with approximately 30 QA testers from the Ravens Madison Wisconsin office being sent ballots to determine if unionization efforts will lead to the creation of the second official games union in North America.
Activision Blizzard, a parent company, is making one last-ditch effort to prevent a union from forming. According to Raven staff talking anonymously with The Washington Post, management has sent messages saying please vote no to the union vote. On April 26, Raven management held a mandatory town hall meeting which encouraged employees to vote no and even "suggested that unionization might impede game development and impact promotions and benefits."
After months of union-busting, The Washington Post claimed that Raven employees found these tactics ineffective and still voted no to the union. After the voting deadline on May 20, the National Labor Relations Board will count ballots live via videoconference.
The union vote for Raven Softwares had a lengthy and complicated process that began last winter when QA contractors were put on strike and held an unofficial vote to unionize. Activision Blizzard refused to accept the results of this unofficial vote, but instead invested millions into hiring a union-busting law firm.
Activision Blizzard has broken up the Raven QA team, held mandatory anti-union meetings, threatened staff from discussing work conditions, and even announced pay raises and full-time employment for all employees except those who reside in Raven Software.
Raven''s union vote comes as Activision Blizzard is fending off several lawsuits. Most recent, New York City is suing the Call of Duty publisher for its planned merger with Microsoft, accusing Activision CEO Bobby Kotick of undervaluing the company and trying to avoid legal liability in other lawsuits.