It has been a long and winding road for the Blizzard Albany QA testers, who have been fighting to form a union for quite some time now. Even after multiple attempts to silence their voices and efforts by Activision, they have come out on top and have been recognized as a new gaming union, one of the earliest in the United States.
Back in July of 2022, we covered the announcement that the Quality Assurance team at Blizzard Albany (previously Vicarious Visions) decided enough was enough and they were going to band together to stop workplace discrimination within the company by forming a union. They believed that they were being undervalued, underappreciated, and underpaid for the amount of work that they do, especially being as vital as they are to the development team as a whole. The quality of their work needed to be recognized, and they also wanted better benefits than what the company had originally offered.
Today, we learn that even after Blizzard allegedly attempted to completely derail their efforts by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a union-busting firm, the QA testers have voted yes to form a union. The QA testers at Blizzard Albany are now an officially recognized union in North America with 14 total votes in favor of their quest for recognition. This is a monumental step for these individuals that were just seeking fair treatment from their employer who decided to try to silence them rather than fix the ongoing issues within the workplace, attempting to argue that all of Blizzard Albany needed to vote, even going so far as to request the votes be impounded so a studio-wide vote could be held.
We all know that Acti-Blizz has been under fire lately for several reasons; unfair pay, horrible benefits, poor treatment of their staff and employees. The list can go on for days, including one case where Activision Blizzard was sued for by the NYC Employee Pension Fund due to Bobby Kotick being “unfit to negotiate a sale of the company”. This recognition may seem like a small step to outsiders looking in, but for those involved, this is exactly what needed to happen in order for them to get the benefits, treatment, and pay they deserve.