Workers at Blizzard Albany became the second organization within Activision Blizzard today to formally request to form a union. Workers at the subsidiary filed for recognition with the National Labor Relations Board today after asking Blizzard last week for formal recognition, a request the company has not yet responded to. Organizing with the Communications Workers of America, which covers a wide variety of sectors and industries including the games industry, Albany joins a growing group of games teams that have taken steps towards unionizing, among larger cross-industry trends toward the same.
Blizzard Albany, formerly known as Vicarious Visions, has been making games for over 30 years and has recently been responsible for titles including Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and Diablo 2: Resurrected. Their success today follows the unionization of Activision subsidiary Raven Software in May. After months of bargaining and several strikes, the Wisconsin based group voted 19 to 3 in favor of unionization, forming the Game Workers Alliance or GWA.
Labor organizing in the video game industry has exploded recently, with a studio operating under Bioware also filing for unionization recently. As with that studio, Albany is filing in order to address disparities in pay, benefits, and work-life balance among employees, as well as the treatment of QA testers in particular. “We demand an environment where our skills, ideals, and democratic decisions are valued and respected,” GWA Albany said on Twitter. “We ask that @ATVI_AB voluntarily recognize our union & respect our right to organize without retaliation or interference.”