US Labor Board Denies Activision’s Delay On Blizzard Albany Union Vote

Blizzard Albany is now one step closer to becoming Activision Blizzard's second union. The 18-member QA team at Blizzard's Albany office first applied for unionization over the summer, leading Activision to immediately begin union-busting with familiar tactics like mandatory meetings. Blizzard Albany's QA team is demanding better pay, healthcare, and paid sick days. Albany secured the right to hold its union vote in October, but Activision appealed the decision, reiterating previous arguments that all of Blizzard Albany should vote on unionization and not just the QA team.

The NLRB had previously struck down such arguments from Activision, and it did so again yesterday. In its ruling (with thanks to PC Gamer), the NLRB denied Activision's request to impound ballots already cast by Blizzard Albany's QA team and delay the union vote, writing that the request "raises no substantial issues warranting review."

"The testers have a separate department and separate supervision; perform a distinct function, utilizing distinct skills; and have notably lower wages than the excluded employees," the Review Board added, repeating the same counterarguments it made a month earlier.

Game Workers Alliance Albany, the name chosen by Blizzard Albany's QA team in solidarity with Activision's first union, celebrated the NRLB's decision. "Activision management's bitter attempt to silence our union has failed. The NLRB has officially denied [Activision's]'s request to impound our ballots," the union wrote on Twitter.

As GWA Albany noted, Activision did succeed in delaying the vote for a little while at least. Ballot counting was originally scheduled to begin November 13, and the NLRB has yet to set a new date for an official ballot count. Once they do, it's widely expected for GWA Albany to become Activision's second official union.

But even if they do, GWA Albany faces an uphill battle. Game Workers Alliance, the first union formed by Raven Software's QA team, reported its first full day of negotiations took place six months after it was officially recognized. Activision also doesn't seem to be bargaining in good faith, which will certainly lead to a future legal battle.

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