Xbox lead Phil Spencer may have dropped a bombshell on the contentious matter of unionization at Activision Blizzard. As the latter continues to putter forward towards its eventual acquisition by Microsoft, it is also attempting to put out various fires. One such matter has been anti-union efforts towards Raven Software, whose QA testers have voted to organize with the help of the Communication Workers of America and Game Workers Alliance. However, Spencer allegedly claimed in an Xbox internal meeting that he would support Raven’s union once the acquisition is complete.
This supposed support was apparently shared in an Xbox Game Studios internal meeting, as reported by Kotaku. During the meeting, Spencer was said to have directly addressed the matter of Raven Software's unionization and what Xbox Game Studios' stance would be on the matter..
“Linda Norman and I have been spending a lot of time educating myself on unions.” Spencer said. “We absolutely support employees’ right to organize and form unions… Once the deal closes, we would absolutely support [an] employees’ organization that’s in place.”
Phil Spencer’s words mark one of the biggest vouches of support out of Microsoft since talks of Raven QA’s organization began. Meanwhile, while Activision Blizzard has publicly shared a sort of backhanded support for Raven’s organization and union vote, its actions have told a different story, including anti-union messaging in its company Slack and making QA testers full-time except for those organizing.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has been fairly quiet on the matter. The company has said it wouldn’t object to Activision Blizzard recognizing the union at Raven Software, but it has said little more than that. Spencer’s address of the Raven Software union situation mark one of most high-profile responses yet from Xbox.
“We think it is a right of employees and something that can be a part of a relationship between a company and people who work at the company,” Spencer concluded.
It will be interesting to see if Microsoft backs Spencer up on this matter. However, it may simply be a stance confined to Xbox Game Studios. Stay tuned as we continue to follow this story for further updates.