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Workers at an Activision game studio say they are forming a union.


Image Raven Software helped create Activision’s popular Call of Duty video game. Credit…Carlo Allegri/ReutersA group of workers at Raven Software, a studio owned by Activision Blizzard, said Friday that they were forming a union and wanted the prominent video game company to voluntarily recognize it.The newly formed union, the Game Workers Alliance, says it includes more than 80 percent of the 34 people in the quality assurance division of Raven, the Wisconsin studio that helps create Activision’s popular Call of Duty game. More than 60 Raven employees walked out in early December, protesting the company ending the contracts of a dozen temporary Raven quality assurance workers, which they said felt abrupt and unfair. Some have been on strike since then.“This is just the best thing for us and our company going forward, for us to have a voice,” said Erin Hall, a Raven quality assurance worker who helped organize the union. She said she hoped unionizing would lead to better job security, and that the Game Workers Alliance would be just “the first domino at Activision.”“I think a lot of us are motivated a lot by the fact that unionization in the games industry hasn’t really happened yet,” Ms. Hall said.Now, Activision executives will have to decide whether to recognize the union voluntarily or force a vote among employees, which would be overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. Activision said in a statement that it was “carefully reviewing” the request.“While we believe that a direct relationship between the company and its team members delivers the strongest work force opportunities, we deeply respect the rights of all employees under the law to make their own decisions about whether or not to join a union,” the company said in the statement. Activision added that it had increased pay, time off and medical benefits for the unionizing workers in recent years.Activision, which Microsoft on Tuesday said it would purchase for nearly $70 billion, has been dealing with months of employee unrest. Before the company incited anger by not keeping the Raven workers in December, employees had been pushing for labor organizing and better treatment since July, when a California employment agency sued Activision, accusing it of fostering a culture where women were routinely sexually harassed and discriminated against.Jessica Gonzalez, a former Activision worker and one of the organizers of ABetterABK, a group of activists that formed in the wake of the …

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