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Activision to begin union negotiations with workers from Raven Software

Biz trying to clean up shop to close $68.7bn buyout by Microsoft

Activision Blizzard is starting collective bargaining with quality-assurance workers at its game studio Raven Software, after they voted in favor of unionizing.

The Californian video-game maker is currently trying to close the $68.7bn acquisition offer from Microsoft, and has promised to fix internal issues amid allegations of a toxic workplace culture that led to gender and race discrimination, as well as sexual harassment of employees.

As Activision attempted to clean up its public image, the biz announced it would lay off 12 workers from Raven Software after a group of employees tried to form a union. Sixty staff members protested, staged a strike for five weeks, and sided with the Communication Workers of America (CWA) to obtain formal recognition.

A formal election was held, and a majority voted in favor of unionizing, and now the games biz is ready to talk.

"This is a positive step toward high road labor relations at Activision," CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens told The Register.

"The Raven workers have remained united in their fight for union representation and a collective bargaining agreement. We know that the management approach recommended by anti-union consultants is ineffective and detrimental, and hope that today's announcement is the first of many steps towards full collaboration."

The road to unionization hasn't been smooth. The CWA has filed three separate changes with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming Activision illegally threatened staff and tried to silence them from publicly speaking out on social media. 

Workers were also told they could not discuss sexual harassment and discriminatin lawsuits filed by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the company, it was alleged. Last week, the CWA filed an unfair labor practice charge, claiming management was retaliating against workers at Raven Software for unionizing. 

The Register has asked Activision for comment. ® 

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