January 18th, 2023 Bargaining Session Update

The Union Bargaining Team met for the seventh overall bargaining session today in Madison. The Union was able to engage the Company in a detailed discussion regarding the Union’s proposal on Promotions and Job Descriptions. The proposal was the result of weeks of planning and preparation by the Bargaining Committee and in consultation with the unit. It calls for an automatic promotion from QA I to QA II after no greater than one year, with quicker promotion based on qualifications, skills, and demonstrated job-related knowledge. The proposal also calls for written job descriptions to be agreed upon with the Union for QA I, QA II, QA III, and QA IV, as well as a flow chart for promotion opportunities.

The most positive aspect of the Union’s proposal was the apparent sincerity with which the Company listened to and engaged the Bargaining Committee regarding the proposal. Unlike past proposals, the Company bargaining committee members engaged regarding the proposal, including detailed feedback. The Company did not have a detailed reply, but promised to get back to the Committee with a response. 

The Union Bargaining Committee explained to the Company that an interim agreement, in order to clarify job duties and arrange for proper promotional opportunities, would be met favorably. The Union Bargaining Committee also raised with the Company our concern, also being investigated by the NLRB, that bargaining unit work was continuing to be reassigned to non-bargaining unit employees. The Company provided data that reinforced this fact.

If our work is reassigned at will to others, it makes it exceedingly difficult to engage the Company in good faith negotiations. We thank all members of GWA again for their support, including the unprecedented solidarity maintained at the last bargaining session, where about half of the unit observed the session. We are hopeful that this outward showing of support led the Company to return to the table today with a new sense of urgency toward making meaningful changes to improve your terms and conditions of employment. 

The rest of the bargaining session today involved discussion over the proper confines of a fair grievance procedure; whether there was a hiring freeze for Raven QA employees; why certain work is not being assigned to Raven QA employees; why Company pay ranges vary widely in documents that have been generated by the Company during and since the union election; and a request for information regarding health insurance coverage, including the availability of gender-affirming care.

December 6th, 2022 Bargaining Session Update

We began bargaining by discussing the continuation of unofficial job mentorship opportunities for bargaining unit employees as part of maintaining the status quo, which is the company’s legal duty. We reminded the company that it can’t legally treat non-union employees differently than union employees, or discontinue existing benefits. Ultimately, the Company agreed to restore unofficial mentorship opportunities to bargaining unit employees immediately.

The Union has repeatedly reminded the Company that restoration of the status quo, as required by law, includes payment of the missed wage increase of $1.50 per hour for bargaining unit employees. The Company has not responded to or met this demand.

The Company further dug in with its own anti-discrimination policy, which would force the resolution of claims in arbitration rather than going through the court system for resolution.

The Company maintained its rejection of the “Responsible Union/Company Relationship” proposal, preferring instead a new, toothless counter proposal on Labor/Management Committees.

Currently the Union has 18 proposals pending across the table, all but three of which have been rejected or deferred by the Company, including remote work, job progressions, restoration of wage increases, and that the Company could not make any changes that disadvantage employees in any way during the term of the contract.

The Union’s demand for an immediate 10% wage increase, effective retroactively to November 2, 2022 for bargaining unit employees was still deferred by the Company.

The Union also raised additional concerns about the Company’s abysmal record of sex and gender discrimination by pointing out how those matters have been hidden from public view through mandatory individual employment arbitration agreements in the past and again requested relevant and necessary information to quantify the extent of the ongoing problem. Despite insisting on preserving its ability to contract work out of the bargaining unit through its Management Rights clause, the Company refuses to provide relevant and necessary information on this count beyond the bargaining unit.

Importantly, we remain emboldened by the NLRB decision finding merit to our unfair labor practice charge alleging ABK illegally withheld raises from organized workers and, without a settlement, will prosecute the company for withholding them. This is a critical victory in our continuing fight for respect, equity, and a fair contract, bargained in good faith.

The Bargaining Committee is confident that through our continued solidarity, mobilization, and bargaining, we will prevail and win a fair contract.

November 2nd, 2022 Bargaining Session Update

The Union just finished our first full-day session of bargaining today. The Company refused to bargain during the day unless the Union paid for the missed time of workers, which it gladly did in order to attempt to get the Company to bargain in good faith.

The Company refused to respond to the demand made October 3, verified October 4, and made again in bargaining today, that the Company honor all outstanding bargaining unit employee requests for remote work to be made permanent. They indicated only that they would not respond today, when repeatedly reminded that other non-Union employees had their permanent requests honored. A copy of the demand is available from the Bargaining Committee.

The Union reminded the Company that restoration of the status quo, as required by law, including payment of the missed wage increase for bargaining unit employees should happen immediately. The Company did not respond.

The Union proposed that during the term of the contract, the Company could not make any changes that disadvantage employees in any way. The Company said it did not accept the proposal.

The Union proposed the protection for employees who require reproductive health care and services, in light of the reversal of Roe v. Wade. The Company, tone-deaf to the critical nature of this proposal, deferred any discussion.

The Union proposed remote work options be guaranteed contractually. The Company did not engage in a discussion and simply said it “deferred” until later in bargaining.

The Union proposed an immediate 10% wage increase, effective today for bargaining unit employees and, nationwide, for all QA Testers. The Company did not respond.

Without explanation, the Company denied the “responsible union-Company relationship” proposal.

The Union presented proposals regarding job definition and job structure, including pay for performance of leadership duties, and codified FTE status. The Company did not reply.

The Company stuck to its outlandish Management Rights proposal that would, among many other things, allow them to outsource our jobs to third-party contractors, unilaterally change our hours of work, or slash our department once again (which is the reason we unionized in the first place).

The contract is being negotiated to benefit employees and protect our wages, terms and conditions of employment. Without explanation, the Company proposed today a Grievance and Arbitration Proposal that would allow its own filing of grievances against the Union. The Union presented its own Grievance and Arbitration Proposal, to which the Company did not respond.

The Union also proposed a Neutrality and Card Check Proposal, so that employees nationwide could share the benefits achieved through unionization without coercion, restraint, and delay.

The Union also put the Company on notice that it would negotiate further regarding the Company’s abysmal record of sex and gender discrimination, by requesting relevant and necessary information to quantify the extent of the ongoing problem.

Importantly, the NLRB recently found merit to our unfair labor practice charge alleging ABK illegally withheld raises from organized workers and, without a settlement, will prosecute the company for withholding them.

Although the Company’s continued intransigence is unwelcome at the bargaining table, the Bargaining Committee is confident that through our continued solidarity, mobilization, bargaining, as well as the Company’s illegal bargaining posture, we will prevail.

The NLRB is sending out our ballots today at 3:00 PM Central time to vote for our GWA Union! We are excited to move forward in the process and continue our next steps toward making history.

First of all, we want to say that we are thrilled with today’s news.

Our fellow QA coworkers in QAMN, QATX, & QALA have won FTE status and a raise.

We’ve been organizing for this and so much more — for all of us.

Today proves our collective organizing efforts work, and we won’t stop.
To be clear — today’s announcement by Activision Blizzard to give all temp and contingent QA team members full-time employment and raises is because of worker organizing.

And their decision to exclude us — the workers of GWA — is their attempt to divide workers and undermine our right to unionize.

It is unsurprising but nevertheless disappointing that Activision has chosen to exclude Raven Software QA workers, who have been at the forefront demanding better pay and benefits, from the company-wide wage increase. The company’s assertion that the NLRA prevents Activision from including Raven QA workers is simply a ploy to punish us for choosing to stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow workers as GWA.

Activision’s announcement is further evidence of the need for ALL workers at Activision Blizzard to have a protected voice on the job.

We strongly urge Activision Blizzard to rectify this situation & respect our protected right to organize under the law.