Activision’s New QA Union Emerges as Largest Among Video Game Industry

The United States video game industry witnessed a significant milestone as approximately 600 software testers at Activision banded together to form the largest union within the sector.

“The agreement required Microsoft to remain neutral about employees who express interest in unionizing and provide adequate lines of communication and information for those workers to decide,” stated Microsoft lawyer Amy Pannoni, emphasizing the terms negotiated as part of Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision in October.

Activision’s New QA Union Emerges as Largest Among Video Game Industry
Microsoft’s acquisition facilitated labor neutrality, allowing unprecedented union formation at Activision. (Credits: The New Yorker)

Despite Microsoft’s substantial takeover of Activision, which led to 1,900 layoffs in its gaming division earlier in January, the newly formed union, named Activision Quality Assurance United-CWA, continues to push for better wages and enhanced career prospects, according to QA tester Kara Fannon.

The unionization effort, spanning Activision’s quality assurance division in California, Texas, and Minnesota, saw employees joining forces with the Communications Workers of America to assert their collective voice in the workplace.

“CWA continues to support workers in their pursuit of fair representation,” remarked CWA President Claude Cummings Jr., underscoring Microsoft’s commitment to uphold workers’ autonomy in deciding on unionization.

Activision’s New QA Union Emerges as Largest Among Video Game Industry
Quality assurance workers demand better wages and career prospects, signaling shifting industry dynamics. (Credits: Hrkatha)

This groundbreaking development reflects a broader trend of labor organizing gaining momentum within the tech industry, driven by growing scrutiny over worker protections amid the expansion of Big Tech firms.

In particular, QA workers at Activision, responsible for identifying glitches and bugs in games, have emphasized the pressing need for labor protections, highlighting disparities in recognition and compensation compared to software engineers or developers.

Even before the Microsoft-Activision acquisition was finalized, QA workers at the video game maker’s Albany branch had initiated their unionization efforts, echoing the sentiment that QA is an underappreciated discipline within the games and software industries, and advocating for environments where their contributions are duly acknowledged and rewarded.

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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