Activision Blizzard hires 1,100 full-time testers amid union pressure
Activision Blizzard has announced that it will transition “all temporary and temporary QA team members in the U.S.” to full-time employees. Nearly 1,100 employees will become permanent employees starting July 1, and starting April 17, the minimum wage for these positions will increase to $20 an hour. These employees will also be eligible for company benefits and bonus programs.
The company said the move “follows a process that began last year” when 500 temporary employees were converted to full-time staff. Meanwhile, Raven Software, which is owned by Activision, laid off more than a dozen temporary QA staff. Other employees went on strike, demanding the reinstatement of laid-off workers and requiring all Raven QA employees to be given full-time status with the company.
Those protests led to the formation of the Game Workers Coalition earlier this year, which is still awaiting official recognition from Activision Blizzard. The hearing between the company and GWA has been referred to the National Labor Relations Board, which has yet to make a decision on how to handle the formal union vote.
Activision Blizzard has released its statement and internal emails to employees. You can read the full text below, courtesy of Call of Duty fan site CharlieIntel.
NEW: Activision Blizzard announced that all QA testers in the US will transition to full-time employees, receive full benefits, and increase hourly wages to a minimum of $20/hour.
Company statement + internal mail: pic.twitter.com/SWsD8aKfAW
— CharlieIntel (@charlieINTEL) April 7, 2022
In July 2021, the state of California filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard alleging years of discrimination and harassment in the workplace. The story has since embroiled CEO Bobby Kotick and prompted an investigation by the U.S. federal government. It continues to grow and is of immense importance to the gaming industry. You can read about all the progress so far in this regularly updated explainer article.
Microsoft announced in January its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard for $70 billion. The acquisition is pending regulatory approval and is not expected to close until 2023. Microsoft has said it doesn’t plan to block Activision Blizzard-owned unions if workers choose to organize.
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