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There has been a growing call for game workers to unionize following the recent wave of mass layoffs. Activision’s Quality Assurance team recently announced that they have formed the largest video game union. The unionization effort was aided by the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

Activision QA Team Vote Overwhelmingly 390 To 8 To Form The Largest Video Game Union

On their official website, QA workers of Activision Blizzard King noted that Activision Publishing makes some of the most profitable titles in the history of video games. They noted that the Call of Duty franchise singularly generates billions for the company annually. However, Quality Assurance workers remain undervalued and under-compensated.

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“We are thrilled to announce that Activision Quality Assurance testers located in Minnesota, Los Angeles, and Texas have voted to form the largest union in the video game industry under the umbrella of Activision Quality Assurance United (AQAU),” the QA workers tweeted on Saturday, March 9, 2024.

“This union was formed on five key principles that we wish to uphold within our workplaces: Democracy, Diversity, Equity, Solidarity, and Transparency. With our collective voices joined together, we aim to bring a brighter future to both our company and the industry at large.”

Activision QA Team Vote Overwhelmingly 390 To 8 To Form The Largest Video Game Union

The union is made up of Activision Publishing QA teams in three locations namely, Austin, TX, Eden Prairie, MN, and El Segundo, CA. They pointed out that one of the motivations for the formation of the union was the recent layoffs, as well as the opportunity offered by the Neutrality Agreement.

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There was an overwhelming outpour of congratulations in response to the announcement. Many believe unionization is the only tool that will empower game workers to demand better pay and working conditions.

What are the core principles of Activision Quality Assurance United

Activision QA Team Vote Overwhelmingly 390 To 8 To Form The Largest Video Game Union

AQAU members play important roles in games published by Activision Publishing which includes popular franchises like Call of Duty, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, and Crash Bandicoot.

Although Activision QA workers mentioned their five core principles in their tweets, a visit to the union’s website revealed more details about the principles and what they entailed. Below is an explanation of Activision Quality Assurance United’s principles and what they stand for.

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  • Democracy: As a worker-led union, it’s impossible for us to be heard without fair, equal, proportional representation that is directly beholden to our members.

  • Diversity: By embracing everyone’s unique skills and backgrounds, we are all capable of doing far more together than we could ever do individually.

  • Equity: The long history of systemic inequality within our country has made it impossible for us to ignore the unique needs of our members and must be addressed collectively wherever possible.

  • Solidarity: Our power comes from us standing together in unity; an injury to one is an injury to all.

  • Transparency: Transparency is the only way our union can uphold our other principles, and must be defended.

Activision QA Team Vote Overwhelmingly 390 To 8 To Form The Largest Video Game Union

According to a report by Nicole Carpenter of Polygon, approximately 600 members of the Activision QA team formed the union. The tally of the final vote was 390 “yes” votes in favor of the formation of a union and 8 “no” votes.

“Something we organized around is that in this industry, QA and customer service are the lowest paid jobs, and often looked down upon either within the industry or by customers,” Kara Fannon, Activision QA tester and organizing committee member told Polygon.

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“It’s easy for people to say to QA, ‘Oh, I found a bug,’ even though we logged tens of thousands of bugs. So why is QA [unionizing], as opposed to other people in the industry? We have the weakest protections currently and we want to make sure that we’re strong so our work can keep going the way it is — we want to be supporting these games and working really hard on them.”

AQAU said that “fair comprehensive compensation that keeps up with changing economic conditions” was the only way that its members could “make gainful strides” in their careers and achieve a healthy work-life balance.

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Emecheta Christian

Emecheta Christian is an avid gamer with over 5 years in the industry. He is also a poet. It is therefore not surprising that his post sometimes read like poetry.

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