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Blizzard Albany QA union vote given go ahead to proceed by NLRB

The National Labor Relations Board determined that QA at Blizzard Albany is paid substantially less than other employees.

Image via Activision Blizzard
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Another win for unionization has happened within Activision Blizzard. This time, it was the QA department at Blizzard Albany (formerly Vicarious Visions) that has the go ahead for a vote to unionize following approval from the National Labor Relations Board. Despite objections by Activision Blizzard, the Blizzard Albany QA will be able to vote to unionize in the near future.

The NLRB’s verdict regarding Blizzard Albany was announced this week, as reported by the Washington Post. The 21 QA staff at Blizzard Albany will now be able to move forward with a vote to unionize. This was initially stifled by Activision Blizzard, which argued it was unfair to leave the decision only to the QA department and that all 88 staff at the company should have a say in the union vote. The National Labor Relations Board determined that Blizzard Albany’s QA team is differentiated from other positions at the company due to their low pay in comparison to most other departments at the company. The NLRB also dismissed Activision Blizzard concerns that QA testers on different games such as Diablo 2 or  Diablo 4 shouldn’t be involved in the same vote.

Diablo 4's character select screen.
Blizzard Albany QA works on testing a multitude of games, including Diablo 4, Diablo 2: Resurrected, and World of Warcraft.
Source: Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard has tried, but failed several times recently to contain unionization efforts within its company. A major move occurred after Activision Blizzard allegedly unfairly laid off a large group of workers at Raven Software despite promising changes for the better and no immediate layoffs coming. This spurred the QA team at Raven to organize and eventually vote to form a union. Activision Blizzard tried to meddle there as well, but eventually signaled it would recognize the union after Microsoft said it would do the same.

As union presence at Activision Blizzard grows, it isn’t the only company facing such organization. Apple’s Australian employees have also organized and been active in forcing the company to the table for better conditions. As we continue to watch for further labor organization updates, stay tuned right here at Shacknews.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at tj.denzer@shacknews.com and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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