Activision Blizzard to Convert 1,100 Temporary Contract Workers to Full Time Employees
Activision Blizzard will be converting 1,100 quality assurance workers from temporary contracts to full time employees, while also increasing their salary to a minimum of $20 per hour. However, the recently
unionized members of Raven Software
QA will not be eligible for the new benefits, with
The Verge reporting
Raven Software Vice President Brian Raffel stating “due to our legal obligations under the National Labor Relations Act, we are prohibited from making new kinds of compensation changes at Raven at this time."
Statements from ATVI VP of Corporate Communications Jessica Taylor, Head of Blizzard Mike Ybarra, and ATVI Publishing COO Josh Taub were shared in reports by
This is the third round of recent compensation improvements for temporary contract workers at Activision Blizzard. Last November,
pay and holiday time off benefits
were expanded to include a new minimum wage of $17/hour and additional sick days, while some
500 temporary contract workers were promoted to full time
positions in December. These benefits seemingly came at a cost however, as 20 other temporary contracts were not renewed - the majority of which coming from Raven Software's Quality Assurance department, which organized a
walkout to protest the dismissals
, followed by the
formation of the Game Workers Alliance union
. A vote with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regarding whether or not
the union will be recognized
is still pending.
Activision Publishing is growing its overall investment in its development and operations resources. We are converting approximately 500 temporary workers to full-time employees in the coming months. Unfortunately, as part of this change, we also have notified 20 temporary workers across studios that their contracts would not be extended.
Raven Software's exclusion from these new benefits seems a curious development, with opinions split over whether it's intended to dissuade more unionization efforts or a legitimate necessity of their pending vote for recognition.
that the Communications Workers of America, of which Raven's Game Workers Union is affiliated with, called the exclusion "especially galling" and an effort to "divide workers and undermine their effort." However,
asked former NLRB attorney Thomas Lenz, who called the situation "very complex" and explained that giving raises to unionizing employees might be viewed as undue influence over their attempt to unionize - seemingly suggesting that it is better to wait for the NLRB to cast its vote on union recognition, and then allow the union to negotiate on behalf of its members as intended.
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