Microsoft has reached a “labor neutrality agreement” with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the parent organization of the Game Workers Alliance union, over unionizing workers at Activision-Blizzard. The “ground-breaking agreement,” which will take effect 60 days after Microsoft completes its acquisition of the studio, “reflects a fundamental belief by both organizations that enabling workers to freely and fairly make a choice about union representation will benefit Microsoft and its employees.”
“This agreement provides a pathway for Activision-Blizzard workers to exercise their democratic rights to organize and collectively bargain after the close of the Microsoft acquisition and establishes a high road framework for employers in the games industry,” said Chris Shelton, President of the CWA. “Microsoft’s binding commitments will give employees a seat at the table and ensure that the acquisition of Activision-Blizzard benefits the company’s workers and the broader video game labor market. The agreement addresses CWA’s previous concerns regarding the acquisition, and, as a result, we support its approval and look forward to working collaboratively with Microsoft after this deal closes.”
According to both parties, the deal between Microsoft and the CWA is structured around five “basic provisions”:
- Microsoft will take a neutral approach to Activision-Blizzard employees who express interest in joining a union.
- Employees covered by the agreement will be able to talk with each other and union representatives without hassles or headaches.
- Employees will have access to a streamlined process for deciding whether or not they want to join a union.
- Employees can choose to keep their decision about whether or not to join a union confidential.
- If there is a disagreement between the CWA and Microsoft, they will negotiate “promptly” to resolve it, and move to “expedited arbitration” if they cannot.
The Activision-Blizzard purchase was recently approved by the company’s shareholders, but still must be approved by the US Federal Trade Commission before it becomes official.
(All information was provided by PCGamer)