(CTN News) _ According to the National Labor Relations Board, Activision Blizzard withheld raises from Raven Software quality assurance testers who had campaigned for unionization.
Activision Blizzard and the Game Workers Alliance – as the Raven QA union is known – will continue to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement in the wake of the revelation.
Activision Blizzard may be subject to a complaint from the NLRB if the two parties are unable to reach an agreement. It may also prosecute the case before a federal judge, but this outcome is considered unlikely.
Wilma Liebman, former NLRB chairman, suggested that the finding could give the union negotiating leverage.
This is part of their strategy, she explained, “to put pressure on the company so they can reach an agreement with them and cease violating the law.”
According to Activision Blizzard spokesperson Rich George, the withheld raises resulted from the National Labor Relations Act.
“We were unable to implement new pay initiatives at Raven because they would be brand new kinds of compensation changes, which had not been planned beforehand because of legal obligations under the [National Labor Relations Act] requiring employers not to grant wage increases while an election was pending.
It has been the law for many years that employers are forbidden from granting such types of wage increases.
After a strike protesting the firing of 12 members of Activision Blizzard’s quality assurance team in January, Game Workers Alliance went public with its unionization efforts.
In May, the group won a union vote despite Activision Blizzard’s efforts to break up the union.
In June, the union filed a complaint with the NRLB alleging Activision Blizzard discriminated against and retaliated against union members.
The company laid off 12 QA testers, reorganized the studio to split the QA department up, withheld benefits, and solicited grievances from employees.
It’s still investigating other issues in the complaint, but the NLRB found the company asked workers to air grievances in May.
A new version of the complaint was filed by the Communications Workers of America on Monday, alleging that the ongoing absence of a quality assurance department constitutes a violation of labor law.