People on the Move: Microsoft, Communications Workers of America sign peace treaty on Activision Blizzard
In what can only be described as a milestone agreement, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and Microsoft have signed a “labor neutrality agreement,” which in layman’s terms simply means the company will not interfere with what CWA President Chris Shelton calls “a pathway for Activision Blizzard workers [in the U.S.] to exercise their democratic rights to organize and collectively bargain…” The agreement will be in effect 60 days after the close of the Activision Blizzard acquisition.
The agreement is built upon five important principles:
Microsoft will remain neutral when "employees covered by the agreement" express interest in joining the union.
Employees covered under the agreement will not be impeded from exercising their right to communicate with other employees and union representatives about union membership."
Employees will have access to a "technology-supported and streamlined" process for choosing whether to join the union.
How employees vote about joining the union will be confidential and private.
Any disagreements that arise between CWA and Microsoft will be addressed as "promptly" as possible.
This is first for Microsoft and opens the door for other studios in the Activision Blizzard ecosystem to organize if they so choose–in other words it may not just be quality assurance testers organizing by the time the dust settles. How dramatically this affects the company that Microsoft is paying $68.7B for remains a big question mark–but more broadly, how will this inspire/influence workers at other game studios in the U.S. who may have been straddling the fence on organizing?
Of course, this doesn’t affect any of the countless studios Microsoft operates in the U.S.-- but the company might stop singing kumbaya when the idea of organizing finds roots at home.
Just some food for thought on your busy Wednesday work day. Now on to this week’s news