Blizzard Albany Quality Assurance Union Approved to Hold Union Vote by NLRB
The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that a group of 21 Quality Assurance testers at Blizzard Albany may vote in union elections this November. As
reported by The Washington Post
, a ballot count will be held via video conference on November 18th in order to count votes.
Formerly known as Vicarious Visions, the now Blizzard Albany quality assurance workers announced the
formation of their new union last July
. Styled the Game Workers Alliance Albany, they follow closely in the footsteps of Activision's Raven Software, who
passed a landmark vote
to become the second formally recognized video game union in the United States behind Vodeo Games (Vodeo Games union was voluntarily recognized, making it a less contentious issue, although it's worth recognizing that the developer is also a much smaller organization than Activision Blizzard).
The Washington Post
In the ruling, the NLRB dismissed Activision Blizzard’s lawyers’ argument that quality assurance testers working on different games don’t belong in the same bargaining unit.
“The difference between ‘Diablo II Resurrection’ and ‘Diablo IV’ is one of assignment that has minimal to no impact on the community of interest among associate test analysts,” the board wrote.
For their part, Activision Blizzard representatives maintained the same defense they used against the Raven Software vote, arguing that all 88 eligible employees should be involved in the process, rather than a small subset of 21 workers from Quality Assurance forming their own bargaining unit.
The Washington Post
“While we respect the NLRB process, we strongly disagree that a decision that could significantly impact the future of the entire Albany-based Diablo team should be made by just a handful of employees,” said Activision Blizzard spokesman Rich George in a statement. “Given our tightly integrated operations in Albany, all of our eligible non-supervisory employees there should have a voice and be allowed to vote, not just the approximately 20 quality assurance testers picked by the union.”
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