Activision QA workers form the largest video game union in the United States to date

About 600 workers in Activision Publishing's quality assurance department have formed a union. With the help of the Communications Workers of America, employees completed their voting with the results certified on Friday, March 8. Activision Quality Assurance United – CWA thus becomes the latest union to emerge from Microsoft's gaming division and the largest video game association in the United States.

In an interview with the edgeTom Shelley, a technical requirements specialist and one of the organizers of Activision Quality Assurance United, said the labor neutrality agreement and Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard last year made their goals of unionizing easier to achieve.

“This was an emergency effort that arose in the last few weeks in response to the opportunities we had to organize freely after the merger,” Shelley said. “As QA workers, we often have the weakest protections and lowest pay of any worker in the industry – even though our work is integral to the success of the companies we work for and the titles we create.”

In quality assurance, workers test games for bugs and other issues, flagging them for other developers to fix. Since the majority of QA jobs are typically entry level, the industry has a reputation for undervaluing these roles, focusing on the need to protect workers.

Shelley praised Microsoft for its voluntary recognition of the union and hopes it will inspire more organizing at the company and beyond.

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