Raven Software employees have voted in favour of forming the first major gaming union, with negotiations now set to begin with parent company Activision Blizzard.
Raven is the studio behind games such as Call of Duty: Warzone and Wolfenstein. Its 22 QA employees all sent ballots to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) back in April and these votes have since been tallied.
Of the 22 employees, 19 voted in favour of unionising.
Under the Game Workers Alliance moniker, the 22 Raven employees comprise a union as of now. This follows Raven’s laying off a number of contract workers after allegedly promising them full-time roles; workers even relocated for such positions.
More than 60 employees at Raven went on strike after the layoffs, and numerous reports have since alleged that Raven and Activision Blizzard aimed to deter the forming of a union, which – according to the Washington Post – included an email to its staff stating "Please vote no".
Activision contended in February that the studio as a whole should vote on the unionisation, but this was rejected by the NLRB. The company hired law firm WilmerHale to review its HR policies last July following a separate staff walkout situation due to sexual harassment.
The 22 QA workers are now recognised by the NLRB and can begin negotiations with Activision Blizzard. "Happy union day! We won!" the Game Workers Alliance tweeted.
Activision Blizzard's controversies continue, with New York City filing a suit against Activision Blizzard earlier this month stating its acquisition by Microsoft undervalues the company and is a means for CEO Bobby Kotick to escape liability.