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Raven Studio game testers can vote to form a union, NLRB rules

A group of 21 quality assurance testers at Raven Software have received the blessing of the National Labor Relations Board to conduct a union vote, per a 27-page ruling from the agency released Friday. Raven's parent company — Activision Blizzard —did not respond in time to a request for voluntary recognition for the new union, the Game Workers Alliance, back in January. 

Since then, Activision tried to convince the NLRB that the dispersed nature of the QA team should be grounds to dismiss the vote. But as per today's ruling, the agency didn't sign on to that view. According to Jennifer Hadsall, a regional director of the agency, there is “no evidence that Q.A. testers are being eliminated or that their role would fundamentally change with the embed process.” Activision also tried (and failed) to convince the NLRB that the entirety of Raven Studio's estimated 230 employees would need to be included in the vote.

"We are pleased that after reviewing the evidence, the National Labor Relations Board rejected Raven Software management’s attempts to undermine our efforts to form a union," a group of Game Workers Alliance organizers told Engadget over email. "It’s now time for Raven management to stop trying to prevent us from exercising our rights. We are looking forward to voting for – and winning – our union."

According to a statement from Activision, the company is “disappointed that a decision that could significantly impact the future of our entire studio will be made by fewer than 10 percent of our employees.” The company is also seeking avenues to appeal the NLRB's ruling. 

The NLRB will begin mailing out ballots to eligible part-time and full-time QA workers, who will have until May 20 to cast; a vote count is presently schedule to take place on May 23. 

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