Blizzard Albany QA Workers Announce Plan To Unionize

Blizzard Albany QA Workers Announce Plan To Unionize

The QA team behind Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 & 2, Diablo 2: Resurrected, and Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy has announced its intent to unionize. Game Workers Alliance Albany (GWA Albany) has formed from Blizzard Albany's QA staff (formerly known as Vicarious Visions) and has asked for voluntary recognition from Activision Blizzard.

"QA is currently an undervalued discipline in the games and software industries. We strive to foster work environments where we are respected and compensated for our essential role in the development process," wrote GWA Albany in its announcement posted to Twitter.

"We, the QA testers of Blizzard Albany are committed to fostering an open, diverse & equitable workplace. We demand an environment where our skills, ideals, & democratic decisions are valued and respected. To that end, we have organized with [Communication Workers of America] to form our union."

Activision Blizzard did not respond to GWA Albany's request for voluntary recognition, which will likely result in an official union vote. In a statement to Polygon, Activision Blizzard stated that it would respond to a formal petition to the National Labor Relations Board. The Washington Post reports 20 employees form the QA unit.

GWA Albany is the second QA team to unionize at Activision Blizzard. The first, called Game Workers Alliance, formed from Raven Software's QA team after months of fighting union-busting efforts from Activision management. The union's key demands were job security, better compensation, improved health care coverage, an end to "crunch," and clearer lines of communication between management and employees.

QA staff across the industry are increasingly turning to unionization in order to improve a notoriously horrendous business. Staffers at Keynote Studios, a support studio doing QA work for BioWare, voted to unionize last month after management demanded they return to office work. The added travel costs made it so some Keynote workers couldn't afford to work.

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