A Ground-Breaking Agreement Has Been Made Between CWA And Microsoft Surrounding Corporate-Union Engagement
This agreement will apply at Activision Blizzard 60 days after Microsoft’s acquisition closes.
On Monday, June 13, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and Microsoft announced that they have entered into a labor neutrality agreement that will eventually extend to Activision Blizzard beginning 60 days after Microsoft’s acquisition closes.
This is momentous news considering that Activision Blizzard was facing such difficulties with the recent unionization of the QA workers at Raven Software. Despite Activision’s best efforts to derail the union, the union was still created. This labor neutrality agreement “reflects a fundamental belief by both organizations that enabling workers to freely and fairly make a choice about union representation will benefit Microsoft and its employees, and create opportunities for innovation in the gaming sector.”
CWA President Christ Shelton went on to explain that this agreement would create a “pathway for Activision Blizzard workers to exercise their democratic rights to organize and collectively bargain after the close of the Microsoft acquisition and establish a high road framework for employers in the games industry.” Again, after the way Activision handled the recent unionization, it is not surprising that employees might hold some concerns over the acquisition of Activision Blizzard. It was stated that this acquisition would benefit “the company’s workers and the broader video game labor market.”
Microsoft President and Vice Chair Brad Smith said: “Earlier this month we announced a set of principles that will guide our approach to labor organizations, and the Activision Blizzard acquisition is our first opportunity to put these principles into practice. We appreciate CWA’s collaboration in reaching this agreement, and we see today’s partnership as an avenue to innovate and grow together.”
The agreement also stated that this was created as a foundation to foster mutual respect and open communication and outlined the following steps that will take place going forward. “First, Microsoft will take a neutral approach when employees covered by the agreement express interest in joining a union. Second, covered employees will be able to easily exercise their right to communicate with other employees and union representatives about union membership in a way that encourages information sharing and avoids business disruptions. Third, employees will have access to an innovative technology-supported and streamlined process for choosing whether to join a union. Fourth, employees can maintain confidentiality and privacy of that choice if they wish. Fifth, if a disagreement arises between the CWA and Microsoft under the agreement, the two organizations will work together promptly to reach an agreement and will turn to an expedited arbitration process if they cannot. The agreement does not impact the Activision workforce before the close of the transaction.”
Earlier this month the CEO of Microsoft Gaming mentioned that they will recognize Raven Software’s union after the acquisition closes over Activision Blizzard. Now, following that statement, this is a wonderful next step by Microsoft and does show a willingness to not only listen, but to change in order to best benefit the employees' current wants and needs.
About the Author
Aspen is an avid gamer currently residing in Japan. She is most attracted to games narrative design and is a huge fan of player choice in games. If Aspen is not playing games, she is most certainly writing about them.
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