Call of Duty QA Testers Create the First Major Video Game Union

Raven Software’s Workers Heard a New Call of Duty

Activision hasn’t been kind to Raven Software. Acting as quality-assurance testers for Call of Duty titles, there was …an incident. One that these testers did not respond kindly to. They’ve since made moves to unionize, and while those efforts have had a rocky start, they’ve officially hit their mark.

There was a vote, deadlines were reached, and the final count returned: Raven Software’s Call of Duty QA testers have unionized, through official legal channels. Their number count is small, totally 30 employees, making this a far cry from full industry unionization. But they’ve managed to do what nobody before has accomplished. For the first time, a major US studio has seen a union successfully form. And in an industry that’s had multiple, prominent accounts of worker abuse – that’s a big deal.

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Interestingly, the vote itself was actually livestreamed on Twitch.tv, the popular game streaming platform. Unfortunately, there is not VOD available on that Twitch page. But that account, the Game Workers Alliance, are the very same people who’ve just unionized at Raven Software. It’s a victory they’ve been celebrating on Twitter:

“Activision Blizzard worked tirelessly to undermine our efforts to establish our union, but we persevered,” members of the Game Workers Alliance say in a statement. “Now that we’ve won our election, it is our duty to protect these foundational values on which our union stands.”

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