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A federal labor board ruled on Friday that a group of about 20 quality assurance workers trying to unionize at Activision Blizzard, the beleaguered video game company, met the requirements to hold a union election.
In a 27-page decision, Jennifer Hadsall, a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board, disagreed with Activision’s claim that the effort to unionize should be dismissed because the company recently spread its quality assurance testers across its Raven gaming studio, where they previously worked in a team.
“There was no evidence that Q.A. testers are being eliminated or that their role would fundamentally change with the embed process,” Ms. Hadsall wrote.
She also disagreed with the company’s assertion that any union would need to include — and be voted on by — all the workers in the 230-person Raven studio.
Raven quality assurance workers will vote by mail on whether they want to unionize and be represented by the Communications Workers of America, and the ballots will be counted on May 23.
Raven workers have said they hope unionizing will lead to better job security: More than 60 walked out of work in December, protesting Activision’s decision to end the contracts of a dozen temporary quality assurance workers, which they said felt abrupt and unfair.
“We are pleased that after reviewing the evidence, the National Labor Relations Board rejected Raven Software management’s attempts to undermine our efforts to form a union,” the quality assurance workers and the Communications Workers of America said in a joint statement. “It’s now time for Raven management to stop trying to prevent us from exercising our rights. We are looking forward to voting for — and winning — our union.”
An Activision spokesman said in a statement that the company was “disappointed that a decision that could significantly impact the future of our entire studio will be made by fewer than 10 percent of our employees.” He added that the company was reviewing whether it could appeal the ruling.