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New Activision QA union is the largest in the video game industry

On Friday, over 600 software testers at Activision joined the largest union in the US video game industry to date.  

The union is the first to organize under a new labor deal signed as part of Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision in October, the company’s largest buyout to date.  

The agreement required Microsoft to maintain a neutral stance toward employees who indicate a desire to unionize and to offer appropriate communication and information for those individuals to make an informed decision. That labor neutrality agreement took effect after the Microsoft-Activision merger was completed in October, following months of regulatory opposition. 

“We remained neutral throughout the organizing campaign and after the vote,” Microsoft lawyer Amy Pannoni stated in a statement.  

In January, Microsoft fired off 1,900 employees from its gaming division.  

According to QA tester Kara Fannon, the union’s name is Activision Quality Assurance United-CWA, and it is looking for more pay and more chances. 

The employees from Activision’s quality assurance division in California, Texas, and Minnesota joined the Communications Workers of America to form a record-breaking alliance.  

“Microsoft continues to keep its commitment to let workers decide for themselves whether they want a union,” said CWA President Claude Cummings Jr. in a statement.  

Labor organizing in the technology industry has gained in popularity as big tech companies have grown and faced increased scrutiny for worker protections. 

Activision QA staff, who test games for glitches and defects, have underlined the importance of labor regulations, citing a sense of undervaluation in comparison to software engineers or developers.  

Before the Microsoft-Activision merger, QA employees at the video game company’s Albany unit formed a union.  

QA is currently an undervalued discipline in the games and software industries,” the Albany stated on social media at the time. “We strive to foster work environments where we are respected and compensated for our essential role in the development process.” 

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