In the context: Activision Blizzard has been embroiled in controversy for most of the year following lawsuits, official investigations, and various other lawsuits related to alleged instances of employee discrimination, harassment, and general mistreatment. Some employees even went on strike in response to the sudden layoffs of several members of Activision Blizzard’s Raven quality control team.
These protests are now over, but they may have had a positive impact on Activision Blizzard’s recruitment and compensation policies. Activision Blizzard has just converted a whopping 1,100 part-time employees went full-time, one of the main demands of the protest. This change will provide affected workers with additional benefits, including access to bonuses and other full-time benefits.
Activision Blizzard says it already took a similar step last year when it converted 500 “temporary and contract positions” to full-time positions company-wide. The company is also increasing the minimum pay for these positions to $20 an hour, a policy change that will take effect April 17.
This is great news for Activision Blizzard employees, and one of the first concrete steps the corporation has taken to do the right thing with its employees since the employee abuse first came to light. The company claims that today’s news shows a 25 percent increase in the number of full-time employees, which is a very significant change.
These changes are not happening through the unionization process that Raven QA workers have recently begun. Activision Blizzard is reassuring the public that the positive improvements it is implementing are entirely separate and independent of the end of the union movement. Indeed, Raven employees have already formed a union called the Game Workers Alliance, but Activision Blizzard still refuses to recognize this organization.
The GWA hopes to achieve recognition soon by going directly to the National Labor Relations Board and voting. If the GWA’s efforts succeed and at least 50 percent of Raven workers vote yes, Activision Blizzard will be forced to negotiate with a new union.
However, as GamesIndustry points out, Blizzard “restructuringto distribute QA members to different studios rather than concentrating them at Raven headquarters. This might get in the way a bit, but we’ll just have to wait and see to be sure.